Russian Cinematograph and Society of 1920–2000
Immediately after its invention, cinema (just as its predecessor—photography) laid claim to reflecting reality in a "truer" way than other media. Almost at the same time, an interesting trend emerged: it experimented with creating on screen very peculiar worlds that seemed real but had no counterparts in reality. This two-sided capacity of cinema brought about the eternal question: to what extent does a cinematic text actually reflect the historical reality it depicts, or is it rather a fictional text that expresses social tendencies contemporary to the time of its production? This course offers an analysis of selected Russian (and one East European) films with the specific goal of tackling the balance between "the reality" the films referred to and the way they actually depicted it. Some basic terms and notions of film analysis will be introduced as well. The course will also compare the treatment of certain topics and subjects in "Western" and Russian / East-European cultures specifically in films. The course will include films by Alexandrov, Balabanov, Eisenstein, Kuleshov, Vertov, Tarkovsky, and other directors lesser known in the West.