Maria Belodubrovskaya

Associate Professor, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College
Classics 314C
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Interests: Film history; film stylistics; Soviet cinema and film theory; theories of film and ideology; mass art; genre; narratology; industry studies; production cultures; formalism; classicism; spectacle; cognitive approaches to spectatorship



Maria Belodubrovskaya’s current work is on the history, theory, and aesthetics of Soviet cinema. Her first book, Not According to Plan: Filmmaking under Stalin (Cornell UP, 2017), is a revisionist history of Soviet filmmaking during the Stalin era (1930–1953) and an institutional study of how ideology structures cultural production. It examines five institutions of Soviet cinema—policymaking, production planning, directing, screenwriting, and censorship—to show that it was impossible to build a mass-producing culture industry while working with artisanal production methods, weak control mechanisms, and an entitled artistic workforce.

She is currently working on her second book, Beyond Montage: Film Aesthetics and Propaganda under Stalin, which addresses Soviet film aesthetics during this same period. The book looks at Soviet cinema’s approach to style and narrative in comparison with Hollywood and other major film traditions. It seeks to challenge some received notions about Soviet film’s ideological conformity and socialist realism while showing how the Soviet cinematic tradition fits into the transcultural aesthetic discourse.



The Cine-Fist: Eisenstein’s Attractions, Mirror Neurons, and Contemporary Action Cinema,” Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind 12:1 (2018), 1–18

Plotlessness: Soviet Cinema, Socialist Realism, and Nonclassical Storytelling,” Film History 29:3 (2017), 169–192.

The Literary Scenario and the Soviet Screenwriting Tradition,” in A Companion to Russian Cinema, ed. Birgit Beumers (John Wiley & Sons, 2016), 251–269.

Abram Room, A Strict Young Man, and the 1936 Campaign Against Formalism in Soviet Cinema,” Slavic Review 74:2 (2015): 311–333.

Soviet Hollywood: The Culture Industry That Wasn’t,” Cinema Journal 53:3 (2014), 100–122.

The Jockey and the Horse: Joseph Stalin and the Biopic Genre in Soviet Cinema,” Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema 5:1 (2011): 29–53.

Understanding the Magic: Special Effects in Ladislas Starewitch’s L’Horloge magique,” KinoKultura 23 (2009).

“Ekstsentrika stilia v kinokartine A. Rooma Strogii iunosha” [Eccentrism of Style in Abram Room’s A Strict Young Man], Tynianovskii sbornik 12 (2006): 318–338. 


  • Film Propaganda (Autumn 2021; CMST 68820)
  • Introduction to Film (Autumn 2021; CMST 10100)
  • Special Topics: Alfred Hitchcock (Winter 2022; CMST 14565)
  • History of International Cinema, Part II: Sound to 1960 (Winter 2022; CMST 28600 / 48600)

Previously taught courses: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock (CMST 26500), Cognitive Approaches to Spectatorship (CMST 67006), and Film and the Moving Image (CMST 14400) 


Courses taught at University of Wisconsin-Madison (prior to joining faculty at the University of Chicago): Introduction to Film, Russian and Soviet FilmThe Films of Alfred Hitchcock, and Critical Film Analysis