Film Critic to Speak on Post-Soviet Cinema on Nov. 14
Evgeny Gusyatinskiy, a Russian film critic, will speak on “Post-Soviet Cinema: The Death and Rebirth of Mythology,” on Thursday, November 14, 2013, at 4:30 p.m. in 245 East Pyne, at Princeton University. The event, which is free and open to the public, is presented by the Program in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES) and cosponsored with the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian filmmakers had to start everything from scratch — from the creation of a new, capitalistic, production system to finding another system of values. A virulent denial of socialist-communist ideas pushed a new generation of filmmakers to abandon the Soviet traditions and build a new industry on the ruins of the old one. Their senior colleagues, artists who had worked successfully during Soviet period, had difficulty adapting to the new times. Thus, a symbolic battle was launched between the present and the past, between two mentalities, two Russias: the Soviet and the post- or anti-Soviet one.
This battle is still ongoing and, without having a clear ending, allows both sides to have their own moments — or, rather, illusions — of victory. Since the beginning of the 1990s, cinema, as any other cultural activity in Russia, has been torn between these extremes, oscillating between them, trying the find a balance. While Russian films of the 1990s aimed to critically reassess the Soviet heritage and neutralize the possibility of return to the past, in the 2000s Russian cinema has moved in the opposite direction, attempting to recapture the past splendor of official Soviet mythology.
Gusyatinskiy is also a correspondent for the Russian Reporter. From 2005 to 2012, he worked as a features editor of Iskusstvo Kino (Film Art Monthly). His articles have appeared in all the major film journals in Russia (Iskusstvo Kino, Seance, Kinovedcheskie Zapiski), as well as in various newspapers and magazines. He currently serves on the selection committee for the Kinotavr Film Festival in Sochi and on the program committee of the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. He is also the curator for special projects at the Moscow art-house theater Pioner.
This event is presented as part of the REEES 2013–14 lecture series, “Soviet: Modernity and Empire,” organized by Petre Petrov, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Serguei Oushakine, associate professor of anthropology and Slavic languages and literatures, is the director of REEES.