Folieva Tatiana

«But generally speaking this motion picture is of such a kind that it would better never existed»: the anniversary of anti-religious film "Clouds over Borsk"

Folieva Tatiana (2021) "«But generally speaking this motion picture is of such a kind that it would better never existed»: the anniversary of anti-religious film "Clouds over Borsk" ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2021, vol. 94, pp. 39-53 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202194.39-53


Forty years ago, in February 1961, the fi lm Clouds over Borsk was released on the screens of cinemas in the Soviet Union. In this article, we do not directly touch upon the filmmaking process; we are more interested in the audience’s reaction to the film. The film Clouds over Borsk is not the fi rst fi ctional work with anti-religious content. Films with a similar theme were made in the 1920s and 1930s, about 35 fi lms were shot, since 1958 about 15 feature fi lms were shot, which was associated with the unfolding Khrushchev’s anti-religious company. The third creative association of the studio Mosfilm decides to stage a fi lm, it is entrusted to the director V.S. Ordynsky, the film was put into production at the end of June 1960, in October there were already views of the material by the Arts Council, in December 1960 the fi lm was fi nished and its preliminary screening began. The fi lm has a “cult” status, a striking example of Khrushchev’s anti-religious propaganda. In the course of our work in the Russian State Archives of Literature and Art, we found twenty-four cases related to the fi lm Clouds over Borsk, of which 19 are related to fi lmmaking, 4 to discussing the fi lm. Before the release of the film on the screens, the members of the fi lm group met with its target audience, i.e. the Komsomol activists of Moscow, workers of the factory named after Sverdlov, scientific and atheistic workers, and colleagues from Lenfi lm studio. As a result, it was reconstructed how anti-religious fi lms were created, the reaction of the audience and the place of the fi lm Clouds over Borsk in the history of Soviet and Russian cinema, its perception in the 1960s and now.


history of religions, religion and cinema, atheistic propaganda, Khrushchev’s anti-religious campaign, Soviet cinema


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Information about the author

Folieva Tatiana

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for Humanities; 6/1 Likhov pereulok, Moscow 127051, Russian Federation;
Post: lecturer;
ORCID: 0000-0001-6631-6022;
Email: tatiana_folieva@yahoo.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.