Pitt, Pittsburgh Filmmakers to Host 15th Annual Russian Film Symposium April 29-May 4

Issue Date: 
April 22, 2013

The University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers will present the 15th Annual Russian Film Symposium from April 29 to May 4. Titled “Re-Imagining Class: Recent Russian Cinema,” this year’s Russian Film Symposium, with screenings to be held on Pitt’s campus and at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room, offers the public a unique chance to view recent films depicting Russia’s often-overlooked middle class.

Derisively referred to by Russian state representatives as “office plankton” and “hamsters,” according to Pitt professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures Vladimir Padunov, director of the symposium, middle-class workers are often forced to hold multiple jobs to survive in Moscow, one of the world’s most expensive cities. While middle-class Russians have become increasingly visible, with massive protests over alleged voting fraud in 2011’s parliamentary elections, cinematic representations of the middle class have distorted its actual living conditions, Padunov said. The slate of symposium films will focus on this contradiction, offering a variety of on-screen images of the middle class in contemporary Russian cinema.

This year’s symposium brings together recognized scholars and critics working in Russian film to provide introductions to the screenings. Scholars and critics attending the symposium will include Greg Dolgopolov, the curator and associate director of the Russian Resurrection Film Festival (Australia), and a member of the editorial board of Kino Kultura; Natascha Drubek, the editor of the Film & Screen Media section of www.ARTMargins.com; Masha Salazkina, whose articles frequently appear in Cinema Journal, Screen, and Kino Kultura; and Barbara Wurm, programmer for the goEast film festival (Wiesbaden), whose work has appeared in Senses of Cinema, Sight and Sound, and Ray, among other publications.

The 9 a.m. April 29-May 3 screenings in Room 106 of David Lawrence Hall, will include, respectively, a surreal cabaret comedy, Sergei Loban’s Chapiteau-Show Part I (2011); Victor Ginzburg’s Generation P (2011), adapted from a novel by Viktor Pelevin,; Dmitrii Fiks’ White Moor (2011), a loose adaptation of Othello; Our Time (2011), a remake of the classic 1977 film Office Romance, by Sarik Andreasian; and a rape-revenge melodrama, Angelina Nikonova’s Twilight Portrait (2011). 

The 2 p.m. screenings in Room 106 of David Lawrence Hall on April 29, 30, and May 3, respectively, will include a father-and-son story, Sergei Loban’s Chapiteau-Show Part II (2011); a consumer love story of a self-made orphan, Roman Prygunov’s Dukhless (2012); and a slow, meditative film on morality, history, and social relationships, Andrei Zviagintsev’s Elena (2011). All films screened on Pitt’s campus are free and open to the public.

The 7 p.m. May 1-4, screenings at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland, will include, respectively, a story of the friendship between two women, Avdotya Smirnova’s Kokoko (2012); an art-house “chick flick,” Renata Litvinova’s Rita’s Last Fairy Tale (2012); a gritty melodrama, Vladimir Kott’s Gromozeka (2011); and a cinematographic mosaic of Russian literary identity, Mikhail Segal’s Short Stories (2012). Admission to each evening film is $4 for Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University, and Art Institute of Pittsburgh students, $7 for students from other institutions, and $8 for nonstudents.

The Russian Film Symposium is supported by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of the Dean of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, University Center for International Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies, Humanities Center, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Film Studies Program, Program for Cultural Studies, and Graduate Russian Kino Club; Pittsburgh Filmmakers; and a grant from the Hewlett Foundation.

All films will be shown in Russian with English subtitles. Visit www.rusfilm.pitt.edu for more information and a full schedule of screenings, or contact Padunov at 412-624-5713 or padunov@pitt.edu.