University of Pittsburgh
May 1, 2012

Pitt and Pittsburgh Filmmakers to Host 14th Annual Russian Film Symposium Through May 5

Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers will present the 14th Annual Russian Film Symposium through May 5 in Room 106 of Pitt’s David Lawrence Hall (DLH), 3942 Forbes Ave., and in Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room (MSR), 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland.

This year’s Russian Film Symposium is titled Camp Cinema: Russian Style, offering current and historical Russian cinema spanning 80 years to engage the audience in a variety of approaches to camp. Pitt screenings are free and open to the public; admission to Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ MSR is $7. All films contain English subtitles.

A single event will be held at one of “the most camp places in Pittsburgh,” the Riverside Drive-in movie theater, Route 66, N. Vandergrift, Pa. At 8 p.m. May 1, the symposium will feature Slava Tsukerman’s Liquid Sky (1982), a Russian camp icon of art-house cinema, with director Tsukerman introducing the film. Admission is $8.

According to Vladimir Padunov, associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and associate director of the Russian Film Symposium, “the term ‘camp,’ in Western criticism refers to a broad spectrum of definitions, ranging from a popularized aesthetic that features frivolity, conflation of high and low culture, and style over substance—most notably in Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 article, ‘Notes on Camp’—to political reclamations of sexual transgression in direct refutations of that article. Most often, however, it is characterized as performative, improvisational, and stylized, regardless of its own degree of self-awareness.”

Some of the best-known scholars and critics currently working in Russian film will participate, including Elena Petrovskaia, editor-in-chief of the theoretical journal Sinii Divan (Blue Sofa) and head of the Department of Aesthetics at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Science; Nina Tsyrkun, director of the Sector of Contemporary Screen Arts at the Institute for Cinema Studies (Moscow) and member of the editorial boards of the historical theoretical journal Kinovedcheskie zapiski (Papers on Filmmaking) and the monthly magazine Iskusstvo kino (Film Art); and Igor Soukmanov, program director of the Minsk International Film Festival, whose articles frequently appear in Iskusstvo kino.

In addition to offering film screenings, the symposium will feature two roundtable discussions at 2 p.m. May 2 and 11 a.m. May 5, both in DLH.

The film symposium’s screening schedule follows.

May 1 Amphibian Man (1961), directed by Gennadii Kazanskii and Vladimir Chebotarev, 9 a.m., DLH; Hello, I’m Your Aunt (1975), directed by Viktor Titov, 2 p.m., DLH; Liquid Sky (1982), directed by Slava Tsukerman, 8 p.m., Riverside Drive-in.

May 2 Sideburns (1990), directed by Iurii Mamin, 9 a.m., DLH; Happiness (1934), with live musical accompaniment on the gamelan, directed by Aleksandr Medvedkin, 7:30 p.m., MSR.

May 3 House Under a Starry Sky (1991), directed by Sergei Solov'ev, 9 a.m., DLH; Hammer and Sickle (1994), celebrating the démodé or the historical trash of the Soviet era, directed by Sergei Livnev, 7:30 p.m., MSR.

May 4 Two Captains II (1992), directed by Sergei Debizhev, 9 a.m., DLH; The Goddess: How I Fell in Love (2004), directed by Renata Litvinova, 2 p.m., DLH; Jolly Fellows (2009), the transgressive performance of drag queens, directed by Feliks Mikhailov, 7:30 p.m., MSR.

May 5 Boris Godunov (2011), the clash between popular culture and the classic, directed by Vladimir Mirzoev, 7:30 p.m., MSR. 

The Russian Film Symposium is sponsored by Pitt’s Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Office, University Center for International Studies, Center for Russian and East European Studies, Humanities Center, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Film Studies Program, Graduate Program for Cultural Studies, and Graduate Russian Kino Club, and grants from the Hewlett Foundation and the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

For more information and a full schedule of screenings, visit