The Cinema of the Soviet Thaw
180 pages
English

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180 pages
English

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Description

Following Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union experienced a dramatic resurgence in cinematic production. The period of the Soviet Thaw became known for its relative political and cultural liberalization; its films, formally innovative and socially engaged, were swept to the center of international cinematic discourse. In The Cinema of the Soviet Thaw, Lida Oukaderova provides an in-depth analysis of several Soviet films made between 1958 and 1967 to argue for the centrality of space—as both filmic trope and social concern—to Thaw-era cinema. Opening with a discussion of the USSR's little-examined late-fifties embrace of panoramic cinema, the book pursues close readings of films by Mikhail Kalatozov, Georgii Danelia, Larisa Shepitko and Kira Muratova, among others. It demonstrates that these directors' works were motivated by an urge to interrogate and reanimate spatial experience, and through this project to probe critical issues of ideology, social progress, and subjectivity within post–Stalinist culture.


Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Persistence of Presence: Soviet Panoramic Cinema
2. Mimetic Passages: The Cinema of Mikhail Kalatozov and Sergei Urusevskii
3. The Architecture of Movement: Georgii Danelia's I Walk the Streets of Moscow
4. A Walk Through the Ruins: Larisa Shepitko's Wings
5. The Obdurate Matter of Space: Kira Muratova's Brief Encounters
Conclusion: The Otherness of Space
Bibliography
Filmography
Index

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Publié par
Date de parution 15 mai 2017
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780253027085
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

THE CINEMA OF THE SOVIET THAW
THE CINEMA OF THE SOVIET THAW
Space, Materiality, Movement
Lida Oukaderova
Indiana University Press
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
iupress.indiana.edu
2017 by Lida Oukaderova
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The Association of American University Presses Resolution on Permissions constitutes the only exception to this prohibition.
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-02635-4 (cloth)
ISBN 978-0-253-02696-5 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-253-02708-5 (ebook)
1 2 3 4 5 22 21 20 19 18 17
F OR G RAHAM , L EO, AND S ASHA
CONTENTS
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Persistence of Presence: Soviet Panoramic Cinema
2. Mimetic Passages: The Cinema of Mikhail Kalatozov and Sergei Urusevskii
3. The Architecture of Movement: Georgii Danelia s I Walk the Streets of Moscow
4. A Walk through the Ruins: Larisa Shepitko s Wings
5. The Obdurate Matter of Space: Kira Muratova s Brief Encounters
Conclusion: The Otherness of Space
Bibliography
Filmography
Index
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
T HE COMPLETION OF this book would not have been possible without the generous help of numerous institutions, colleagues, and friends.
I am grateful to the staffs of the Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts in Moscow and of the Russian State Documentary and Photo Archive in Krasnogorsk for their patient research assistance; to the Rice University Department of Art History and Dean of Humanities for their continued research support; to the Department of Romance, German, and Slavic Languages and Literatures at George Washington University, where this project was first conceived; and to John Steven Lasher of the Kinopanorama Widescreen Preservation Association for his kindness in sharing knowledge and materials.
Although work on this book began after I left the University of Texas at Austin, it has benefited greatly from conversations and friendships begun at UT. I am particularly thankful to Katherine Arens, Keith Livers, Joan Neuberger, and Janet Swaffar for their guiding support, and to Ben Chappell and Marike Janzen for their continued friendship. At GWU, Masha Belenky, Leah Chang, and Lynn Westwater were ideal colleagues and friends-conversations with all three were essential to the book s early development. At Rice, Linda Neagley and Diane Wolfthal provided consummate departmental leadership; Andrew Taylor was tireless in his image assistance; and Leo Costello, Luis Duno-Gottberg, Shirine Hamadeh, Gordon Hughes, Fabiola Lopez-Duran, and Kirsten Ostherr helped create an ideal professional and intellectual home. Last but not least, Michelle Piranio provided an astute eye and careful pen that were vital for the book s completion.
Sections of this book have been previously published or presented as lectures, which in all cases motivated the book s progress and improved its arguments. A version of chapter 3 was published in Studies in Soviet and Russian Cinema (vol. 4, no. 1, 2010) under the title The Sense of Movement in Georgii Danelia s Walking the Streets of Moscow , and a section of chapter 2 appeared in Film and History (vol. 44, no. 2, 2014) under the title I Am Cuba and the Space of Revolution ; I thank both journals for providing an initial public platform for the book s contents. Talks developed from the book s chapters were delivered at Rice University, George Washington University, University College London, the University of California-Irvine, and the annual conferences of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the American Comparative Literature Association. I am grateful to organizers and respondents at each of these venues, particularly to Julian Graffy and Philip Cavendish of the Russian Cinema Research Group at University College London, where my arguments were challenged and extended in unexpected and productive ways.
In addition to the colleagues already listed, numerous friends have assisted my work on this project through their knowledge, encouragement, and wit. In particular, I wish to thank Sarah Costello, Sandra Dorsthorst, Mary Giovagnoli, Frank Geurts, Yuri Goriukhin, Thekla Harre, Michael Kades, Jennie King, Aza Lukashionok, Vladimir Mironov, Svetlana Mironova, Carlos Pelayo Martinez Rivera, Tamara Rzaeva, Irina Teufel, Magda Walkiewicz, Maurice Wolfthal, and Eric Yvon; together, they have made me feel at home across continents. Family in both Russia and the United States also have helped sustain me during the book s development: In Russia, I thank Igor, Tatiana, and Maksim, and, above all, my mother, Ludmila, who has been unwavering in her patience and support, and my father, Vikentii, who is immensely missed. Shared celebrations with my Chicago family, Arlene Bader, Laura Bader, and Victor, Ben, and Lida Sturm, have made winters warmer across the years of the book s progress.
At the Indiana University Press, Janice Frisch has been a model editor and shepherd for this project. I am deeply indebted for her gracious guidance. Raina Polivka also is warmly thanked for her early support of the book, as are the press s anonymous readers; their careful reading and generous comments improved the manuscript considerably.
This book was written, finally, in the daily presence of-and out of deepest love for-Leo and Sasha, who have allowed me to perceive the world anew, and Graham, whose care and tenderness and ways of seeing are the book s foundation. It is dedicated to all three.

THE CINEMA OF THE SOVIET THAW
INTRODUCTION
I N M AY 1961 the Soviet film journal Iskusstvo kino ( The Art of Cinema ) published a short review of the just-released documentary The City of Great Fate ( Gorod bol shoi sud by ), directed by Il ia Kopalin. The film-selected as an official Soviet entry for the shorts competition at the Cannes Film Festival taking place the very same month-is a visual lexicon of Moscow and joins numerous other Soviet productions of the 1960s that sought to define the image of the capital city within the more tolerant framework of post-Stalinist Soviet culture. The reviewer A. Zlobin unequivocally praised the film for its interesting, original form and for what he deemed to be its many inventive and investigative gestures. 1 He appreciated its focus on the boundless manifestations of urban movement, especially when contrasted with the static solidity of the city s buildings. He commended the film s presentation, through its study of Moscow s architectural and material surfaces, of the city s history as unfolding in space rather than time. And he admired the director s decision to develop his urban story through the visual buildup of its episodes, letting the images do the work most often left to voiceover narration in documentaries.
Zlobin s enthusiasm, however, began to falter as he moved into a discussion of the film s last section. Expecting to see a culmination of its episodic perceptions of the Soviet capital-a philosophical generalization of the diverse and disconnected routes of the film s previous parts-he found instead only random moments, isolated fragments, and cyclical repetitions: a story about yet another house, an inquiry into yet another urban place. 2 The city s separate parts, the critic lamented, thus failed to cohere into a larger whole. Zlobin implied that Kopalin and his crew got so trapped in the abundance of Moscow s diversity, particularity, and materiality that they could find no clear path forward to a grand, narrative ending. As if unable to escape such an erratic multiplication of spaces, places, and people, the filmmakers, Zlobin claimed, abandoned the city altogether; instead, their film ends with shots of the moon.
Zlobin s points of critique, if somewhat exaggerated, are on the mark. The balancing act undertaken by The City of Great Fate -its desire to present the grand destiny of Moscow through attention to its divergent, frequently simple, everyday details-appears to have fallen asunder. The film loses its sense of a clear teleological progression as, despite all intentions, the city s spaces refuse to be organized into a narrative whole. One sequence stands out in this regard. It begins with a static image of a schematic map of Moscow ( figure 0.1a ), in the middle of which a large, irregular hole opens up; its contours coincide with Moscow s historical boundaries, and within them we see random moments from the city s past appear: a horse moving along, a streetcar passing through a city square, and the like ( figure 0.1b ). The cinematically recorded reality displayed within this singed gap, in its comparatively large scale and explicit depth, as well as fragmentary motion and transient specificity, overwhelms and sidelines the static and flat map, rendering it insignificant. It creates a desire to enter its space and to follow its streetcars and horses, rather than return to the simple lines of the mapped, general surface as a source for experience or knowledge.
Kopalin s sequence provides a relevant point of entry to the present book, for it concretizes, through the specifics of film s material form, the primacy of space and above al

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