Culture and Arts Azerbaijan
Nationalized by the Soviets in 1920, the very young Azeri film production of the time was marked, like those of all the Soviet republics, by the soviet realism and stalinist ideology.
In the 1950s and 1960s, national cinema nevertheless experienced a certain diversification. Musicals, dramas but also westerns, all scrutinized by political censorship.
It was only in the 1980s that Azeri directors set out to evoke in their films the historical events of the country, great national figures or popular traditions, especially through fairy tales. This will often cause them problems with the party's political offices, until Perestroika relaxes the controls.
With the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Azerbaijani cinema disappears, or almost, at the same time as the subsidies paid by Moscow for the "propagation of culture" disappear.
Writer Rustam Ibrahimbejov stood out as the author of the screenplay for Soleil Trompeur (Burnt by the sun), directed by Russian Nikita Mikhalkov and awarded at the 47th Cannes film festival in 1994.
Freedom of the press is a very vague notion in Azerbaijan. And while you may think you find a plethora of TV stations, newspapers, and magazines, be aware that they are all tightly controlled by the state.
The only authorized independent newspapers, just to meet some demands of the European community, are continually harassed, forced to move or their editors imprisoned. Kidnapping or attempted murder is the daily life of opposition journalists. The only English language newspapers are cultural magazines, generally distributed free of charge to expatriates.