Soviet TV. It's a lost art, you know, and I know you've all seen this before, I know.
But the thing is that there's something lurking in this video, something wonderfully optimistic and potentially life-changing. The USSR was a hole and, in 1976, it was an increasingly belligerent hole that cynically used its revolutionary credentials to do not a lot for ordinary people. But there were still occasional sparks of something else, windows to the original idea that the USSR would be different and positive and seek to improve the lot of humanity.
Okay, no, maybe not the USSR, but the vision of the original revolution and all that they brought with them. I may not agree with much of Marxism (and I don't, as it happens) but I have to admire those Bolsheviks and their ability and willingness to do exactly as they said they were going to do with War and Land (and I realise the latter of those was an unmitigated disaster). Thing is, there was something about what they wanted to do about the human condition and the way art could be harnessed, freed and used all at the same time. That utopian vision was worth something.
A vision that is strikingly clear in the aftermath of the October Revolution and the actions of SovNarKom, subsumed in the horrors of the Civil War and distorted by X Party Congress but still there a little in pockets, almost brought out into the light by Khrushchev (though he would be the first to warn you against seeing too much good in what he did) and then slowly killed by dreary drudgery and stagnation. And yes, even here I am over-selling it, I know. But there's something, a kernel if no more, of something greater, something almost beautiful.
This video, this singing of a feeling without words, is part of that original vision. It's poorly made, poorly conceived and ridiculous, but the concept of TV as a cultural and educative force at prime time like this... if that's not naked optimism I don't know what is. Furthermore, to use it as a form of art for people to watch, well, imagine that today. Even the series I like tend to appeal to the lowest-common denominator (well, you could say that's why I like them) in order to do well.
No, this is a happy little video and I think I may have a soft spot for it.
I have also acquired a copy of Die Weller that I intend to watch at some point, so, you know, there's that.