University of Pittsburgh
April 17, 2003

Pitt and Pittsburgh Filmmakers To Cosponsor Fifth Russian Film Symposium, Arrogance & Envy: Anti-American Cinema Under Communism and After

Contact:  412-624-4147

Patricia Lomando White

[412-624-9101; laer@pitt.edu]

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers will present the Fifth Russian Film Symposium, Arrogance and Envy: Anti-American Cinema Under Communism and After, May 5-10 in Oakland on Pitt's Oakland campus and at the Filmmakers' 477 Melwood Ave. location in North Oakland. The symposium will feature film screenings, daytime discussions, commentaries, and research papers.

Arrogance and Envy will examine nearly 80 years of anti-Americanism in communist and post-communist cinema and will provide an arena in which participants can analyze the narrative and visual strategies of negative U.S. stereotypes used by Russo-Soviet filmmakers who worked under nine political leaders, from Lenin through Putin. According to organizers, no other geopolitical space has had a comparable history of generating anti-American images.

Attending this year's symposium will be leading Russian cinema critics, including Aleksandr Shpagin and two writers for Cinema Art, Natalia Sirivlia and Elena Stishova.

Four films rarely seen in the United States will be presented and discussed in the dual contexts of Soviet and post-Soviet culture and politics. For full information on the event, visit the symposium Web site, www.rusfilm.pitt.edu/2003/.

The screenings will take place at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room, beginning at 8 p.m. May 5 with a screening of Aleksandr Dovzhenko's last, unfinished film, Farewell, America (1949-50). Dovzhenko, the leading master in the 1930s of Soviet expressive realism, based his film on an expose written by Annabelle Buchard, a U.S. journalist who emigrated to the Soviet Union.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (1924), by master filmmaker and cinema theorist Lev Kuleshov, will be screened at 8 p.m. May 6. The earliest example of Soviet anti-American filmmaking, Mr. West also is considered to be one of the funniest and best-loved Soviet silent films. Aleksei Balabanov's Brother 2 (2000), to be screened at 9:15 p.m. May 9, secured the place of its young star, Sergei Bodrov Jr., as a new hero for a new Russia. One of post-communist Russia's few genuine blockbusters, Brother 2 was filmed partly in Pittsburgh.

The series concludes with a screening at 7:30 p.m. May 10 of Pavel Lungine's Tycoon (2002). Lungine's film traces the life of a billionaire outlaw who dodges assassination attempts in his efforts to take control of Russia's most lucrative industries—oil, automobiles, and banking—and route millions into Swiss bank accounts. Set in the wild capitalism of the 1990s, this film traces the rise and fall of a Russian oligarch. All films have English subtitles or intertitles.

All films except Tycoon will be screened again at times and dates to be announced. Tickets are $5, and $4 for students and seniors. For more information, call 412-682-4111.

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