University of Pittsburgh
April 23, 2014

Russian Film Symposium to Examine Gender Stereotypes

“Gendering Genre” theme of symposium cohosted May 5 - 10 by Pitt and Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Films will be introduced by internationally renowned critics and scholars

PITTSBURGH—TheThe Convoy University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers will present the 16th Annual Russian Film Symposium from May 5 through May 10 at Pitt’s campus and Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room in Oakland. Titled “Gendering Genre,” this year’s Russian Film Symposium offers a unique chance for the public to view recent films and examine how gender and genre stereotypes are foregrounded and subverted in recent Russian cinema.

Russian movie theaters are now dominated almost exclusively by two genres: romantic comedies (usually set in Moscow or Saint Petersburg) and gritty dramas about everyday life (usually set in the provinces). These two genres are often coded as either “woman friendly” (in the case of the romantic comedies) or “masculine” (in the case of the dramas). A host of esteemed scholars and critics of Russian film, traveling from Russia, the United Kingdom, and across the United States, will attend the symposium to introduce the films and examine the theory that there is a division along gender lines in Russian cinema. 

Among the noted critics set to introduce the symposium’s films are Viktoriia Belopol'skaia, programming director of the ArtDocFest film festival and a regular contributor to the film journals Séance and Iskusstvo kino; Anzhelika Artiukh, a film scholar and film critic whose reviews have appeared in Iskusstvo kino, Séance, Film Comment, and Imago; Philip Cavendish, author of The Men with a Movie Camera: The Poetics of Visual Style in Soviet Avant-Garde Cinema of the 1920s (Berghahn Books, 2013); and Jeremy Hicks, a specialist in Russian documentary cinema and the author of First Films of the Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938–1946 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012). 

After each screening, a guest speaker, Pitt faculty member, or Pitt graduate student will lead a discussion in response to the film. All films will have English subtitles. Admission costs for the duration of the symposium are $8 for regular admission, $7 for seniors and students, and $4 for Pitt and Art Institute of Pittsburgh students. The schedule of film screenings follows.

Monday, May 5
Till Night Do Us Part (2012)
DirectedLiving by Boris Khlebnikov

  • A journalist eavesdrops on conversations at one of Moscow’s most exclusive restaurants in this romantic comedy.
  • 10 a.m. May 5, Room 1500, Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland
  • Introduction: Viktoriia Belopol’skaia, film critic and programming director of ArtDocFest
  • Response: Natalia Ryabchikova, Pitt PhD candidate in film studies

Dumpling Brothers (2013)
Directed by Gennadii Ostrovskii

  • When their father dies, two brothers with nothing in common convince their grieving mother to cook them dumplings, an innocent request that leads to unexpected consequences.
  • 2 p.m. May 5, Room 1500, Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland.
  • Introduction: Anzhelika Artiukh, film criticism instructor, Saint-Petersburg University of Film and Television
  • Response: Beach Gray, Pitt PhD candidate in film studies

Tuesday, May 6
Me Too! (2012)
Directed by Aleksei Balabanov

  • A bandit and a musician go on a road trip to seek out a mysterious “bell tower of happiness,” a place of no return where a chosen few are taken to paradise.
  • 10 a.m. May 6, Room 1500, Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland
  • Introduction: Media historian Mark Lynn Anderson
  • Response: Chip Crane, Pitt instructor, Slavic languages and literatures

Delhi Dance (2012)
Directed by Ivan Vyrypaev

  • A series of seven vignettes revolving around the interactions between characters waiting in a hospital for news about their loved ones.
  • 2 p.m. May 6, Room 1500, Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland
  • Introduction: Philip Cavendish, senior lecturer in Russian literature and film studies, University College London
  • Response: Olga Mukhortova, Pitt PhD candidate, Slavic languages and literatures

Wednesday, May 7
Eternal Homecoming (2012)
Directed by Kira Muratova

  • A man seeks out a former schoolmate for help in deciding between two women he’s in love with in this playful story.
  • 10 a.m. May 7, Room 1500, Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland
  • Introduction: Daniel Morgan, associate professor, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago
  • Response: Kiun Hwang, Pitt PhD candidate, Slavic languages and literatures

Intimate Parts (2013)
Directed by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksei Chupov

  • Through a series of interlinking plots that revolve around Ivan, a photographer with a passion for freedom, Intimate Parts explores middle-class attitudes toward sex and secrecy.
  • 7:30 p.m. May 7, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland
  • Introduction and response: Anzhelika Artiukh, film criticism instructor, Saint-Petersburg University of Film and Television

Thursday, May 8
She (2013)
Directed by Larissa Sadilova

  • Featuring a cast of mostly amateur actors from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, She traces the fortunes of a young woman who follows her significant other to Russia from Tajikistan, exploring the conditions of migrant workers.
  • 10 a.m. May 8, Room 1500, Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland
  • Introduction: Jeremy Hicks, faculty member in Russian culture and film, Queen Mary University of London
  • Response: Olga Kim, Pitt PhD candidate, Slavic languages and literatures

The Convoy (2012)
Directed by Aleksei Mizgirev

  • A police officer and a soldier travel to Moscow to recover missing money and to bring a deserter back to face a military court in this gritty crime drama.
  • 7:30 p.m. May 8, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland
  • Introduction and response: Jeremy Hicks, faculty member in Russian culture and film, Queen Mary University of London

Friday, May 9
A Winter Journey (2013)
Directed by Sergei Taramaev and Liubov’ L’vova

  • A Winter Journey is a tragic love story between two men: a conservatory student and a homeless criminal whose paths cross during a bus journey, with the snowy beauty of Moscow as a backdrop.
  • 10 a.m., May 9, Room 1500, Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland
  • Introduction: Petre Petrov, assistant professor of Russian, Princeton University
  • Response: Olga Klimova, Pitt instructor, Slavic languages and literatures

Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari (2012)
Directed by Aleksei Fedorchenko

  • Shot in the Mari language, this comedy-drama consists of 26 stories influenced by the folklore of the Mari, an ethnic group living along the Volga River often called “the last authentic pagans living in Europe.”
  • 2 p.m. May 9, Room 1500, Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland
  • Introduction: Neepa Majumdar, Pitt associate professor of film studies
  • Response: Irina Anisimova, Pitt PhD candidate, Slavic languages and literatures

Break-Up Habit (2013)
Directed by Ekaterina Telegina

  • Recent university graduate Eva has a new job, friends, and a doting boyfriend. But fearing a predictable life with marriage and children, she dumps her boyfriend and embarks on a string of dating mishaps in this self-aware romantic comedy.
  • 7:30 p.m. May 9, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland
  • Introduction and response: Philip Cavendish, senior lecturer in Russian literature and film studies, University College London

Saturday, May 10
Living (2011)
Directed by Vasilii Sigarev

  • A meditation on the presence of death in life, the award-winning Living weaves together stories of Russian families challenged by death.
  • 7:30 p.m. May 10, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland
  • Introduction and response: Viktoriia Belopol’skaia, film critic and programming director of ArtDocFest

The Russian Film Symposium is supported by the University of Pittsburgh Office of the Dean of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the University Center for International Studies, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the Humanities Center, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Program for Cultural Studies, the Graduate Russian Kino Club, and a grant from the Hewlett Foundation. Pittsburgh Filmmakers is a cosponsor of the symposium.

For more information, visit www.rusfilm.pitt.edu or contact Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures Vladimir Padunov at padunov@pitt.edu.

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