The new head of the Soviet film union today said a "conflicts" commission has been created to review all films that have been held up by censors.
Elem Klimov, the 53-year-old film director who rose to the head of the union last month in a quiet revolt, said the commission will review the reasons some two dozen feature films have not been released over the last 20 years. A smaller number of documentary films also will be reviewed, he said.
Klimov himself is one of those who suffered from censorship. His film "Agony," about the mystic Rasputin, lay "on the shelf" for 10 years before it was released.
Talking about the self-imposed exile in the West of Andrei Tarkovsky, a well-known Soviet filmmaker, Klimov noted, "He had difficulties here, I know. I have had difficulties, even more than he."
Klimov spoke today, along with other figures from the arts, at a press conference called to discuss the benefit of expanded cultural ties between East and West.
In style and content, Klimov's remarks were strikingly brief and frank in contrast to those of the others. In his first appearance before a large group of Soviet and foreign correspondents since his election as the union's first secretary last month, he displayed the same candor that had made him the candidate of the leaders of the mini-revolt within the film union.
Two-thirds of the union's leadership changed in the election, which followed a series of tough speeches criticizing the union for not encouraging creative films and for not defending filmmakers.
The previous head of the union, Lev Kulidshanov, 62, had been in the job almost 20 years. He was publicly, though teasingly, chastised by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the 27th Communist Party Congress this winter for being overly obsequious.
The revolt in the film union began earlier this year when some Moscow-based sections of the union refused to endorse a list of prescribed candidates as delegates to the congress.
Klimov -- whose film "Go and See" won last year's Moscow Film Festival -- had been the main candidate of the rebellious faction, but his name was actually put forward by Central Committee propaganda director Alexander Yakovlev, whose support showed that the party leadership accepted, if not endorsed, the changing of the guard in the film union.
In the last year, there have been other signs of loosening up in the film industry. "Agony" was released in the spring of 1985, shortly after Gorbachev took office. This spring, "Road Checks," a film by Yuri German, one of the most powerful of Soviet filmmakers, came out after 15 years "on the shelf" -- the term used here for censorship.
In an interview this week in the literary newspaper Literaturnaya Gazetta, German said the main problem with the Soviet film industry until now has been not with "particular people, but the system of inexplicable taboos and brutal restrictions in art, which was until recently considered normal."
Klimov today noted that the ultimate power for deciding conditions for filmmakers rests not with the film union, but with Goskino, the state committee for cinema that controls funding.
"We do not create the conditions for work," he said.