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Adapting Russian and Soviet Film Heritage for Public Audiences in Europe and the UK

Adapting Russian and Soviet Film Heritage for Public Audiences in Europe and the UK

Korolkova, Maria ORCID: 0000-0002-1784-3675 (2020) Adapting Russian and Soviet Film Heritage for Public Audiences in Europe and the UK. [Show/Exhibition]

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Russian and Soviet film heritage occupies a special place in the histories of European cinema. It was in the former Soviet Union that cinema became predominately popular art form influencing politics and aesthetics alike, with Lenin remark that ‘of all the arts for us cinema is the most important’ becoming a cliché and at the same time setting up cinema’s central position in culture with ‘its unique combination of mass medium, art form and entertainment industry’ (Taylor and Christie 2005: xvi).

Yet, historically, the full access to the Russian and Soviet film heritage for European public and researchers was accessible only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Today, while being part of many education curricula in the West, and having been widely researched in English-speaking academic circles – from seminal works by Yuri Tsivian (1991; 1998), Birgit Beumers (2009), Denise Youngblood (2014), as well as most recently Vlad Strukov (2017) and Nancy Condee et al (2020) to name just a few – Russian and Soviet film heritage still remains largely a terra incognita for general public in the UK. At least it was when a British actress Justine Waddell noted for The Evening Standard in 2015: ‘If I type in Eisenstein on my computer it auto-corrects to Einstein! […] Russia has a film tradition still largely invisible outside of Russia: perhaps that is the legacy of the Cold War or the difficulty of the language’ (Waddell in Harman 2015).

It has become clear, that putting major Soviet directors to the school curriculum or researching their work as a part of higher education experience may not be enough to bring this unique film heritage to British public audiences, especially in the time of complex political relationships between Russia and the UK. This situation triggered the creation of this particular Practice-as-Research project back in 2015, which in five years grew into a series of multi-sighted, interdisciplinary and cross-cultural public collaborations aimed to create programs of restorations, publications, art commissions and events to spotlight Russian language cinema in the UK – a tradition that at the start of this project remained largely invisible to audiences outside of Russia. Additionally, this project aimed to test different models of public engagement based on film curation in the digital age.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Uncontrolled Keywords: Curating Russian Film, Public Impact, Public Engagement
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 02:33

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