1934 was the first year of relative political freedom in the USSR and, consequently, a year of perfect harmony in Soviet film history. After a series of crises filmmakers seemed to have finally obtained a balance between high artistic standards, the box office and the authorities’ demands. The year was marked by an remarkable success of Chapayev – praised by Eisenstein, watched by Stalin 38 times, and still loved in Russia today. Filmmakers, from veteran Yakov Protazanov to the relatively unknown Mark Donskoi, got a second wind – experimenting with sound effects and music (among those who wrote for cinema in 1934 were Prokofiev and Shostakovich), exploring new genres, such as political satire and stylized historical comedy, setting new standards in camerawork. Even silent cinema gained a new life, enriched by the acting and editing techniques of the sound film. Decades later Grigori Kozintsev, who, together with Leonid Trauberg, directed one of his best pictures that year, The Youth of Maxim, would call this period “Second Utopia” (the first one being the post-revolutionary decade). This time the hopes were shortlived: The Great Terror started in 1936.