Maria Belodubrovskaya

Masha pic
Director of Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College
Classics 314C
Office Hours: Thursdays 2:30-4pm. Sign up through Calendly:
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.



“A True Language of Cinema,” Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind 17:1 (2023), forthcoming.

“The Master of Surprise: Alfred Hitchcock and Premise Uncertainty,” Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind 17:1 (2023), forthcoming.

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. 


Mashenka,” in Lexicon of Global Melodrama, eds. Heike Paul et al. (Transcript Publishing, 2022), 71–73.   

Amphibian Man,” in Directory of World Cinema: Russia, vol. 2, ed. Birgit Beumers (Intellect, 2015), 134–135.


  • Cinema in Theory and Practice (Winter 2023, in Paris; CMST 14503)
  • Introduction to Russian Civilization II (Spring 2023, in Paris; HIST 14000)
  • Introduction to Film (Autumn 2024; CMST 10100)
  • Movies and Mind: What Science Can Tell Us About Movies (Autumn 2024; SIGN 26089)

Previously taught courses: History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960 (CMST 28600)Film Propaganda (CMST 68820), The Films of Alfred Hitchcock (CMST 26500), Cognitive Approaches to Spectatorship (CMST 67006), Politics and Cinema under Authority (Autumn 2022; CMST 38800),and Film and the Moving Image (CMST 14400)