Maria Belodubrovskaya

Masha pic
Associate Professor, Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the College
Classics 314C
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Interests: Theory of film aesthetics (ideology, narratology, formalism, classicism, and spectacle); formal analysis and film stylistics; film history, industry history, and archival studies; Soviet film and film theory; cognitive film theory



On leave for the 2023-2024 academic year.

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, Jolly Fellows: Film Aesthetics and the Pleasures of Socialist Realism, 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.



Kino: The Cinema Weekly of Stalin’s Times,” in Global Movie Magazine Networks, ed. Eric Hoyt and Kelley Conway (University of California Press, forthcoming).

A True Language of Cinema,” Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind 17:1 (2023), 28–38.

The Master of Surprise: Alfred Hitchcock and Premise Uncertainty,” Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind 17:1 (2023), 1–19.

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.


Winter Quarter 2023

CMST 14503: Cinema in Theory and Practice (In Paris)

Spring Quarter 2023

HIST 14000: Introduction to Russian Civilization II (In Paris)

Autumn Quarter 2024

CMST 10100: Introduction to Film 

SIGN 26089: Movies and Mind: What Science Can Tell Us About Movies

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)