University of Pittsburgh
April 23, 2013

Pitt and Pittsburgh Filmmakers to Host 15th Annual Russian Film Symposium April 29-May 4

Contact: 

Adam Reger

412-624-4238

Cell: 412-802-5908

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Filmmakers will present the 15th Annual Russian Film Symposium from April 29 to May 4. Titled “Re-Imagining Class: Recent Russian Cinema,” this year’s Russian Film Symposium, with screenings to be held on Pitt’s campus and at Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room, offers the public a unique chance to view recent films depicting Russia’s often-overlooked middle class.

Derisively referred to by Russian state representatives as “office plankton” and “hamsters,” according to Pitt associate professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures Vladimir Padunov, director of the symposium, middle-class workers are often forced to hold multiple jobs to survive in Moscow, one of the world’s most expensive cities. While middle-class Russians have become increasingly visible, with massive protests over alleged voting fraud in 2011’s parliamentary elections, cinematic representations of the middle class have distorted its actual living conditions, Padunov said. The slate of symposium films will focus on this contradiction, offering a variety of on-screen images of the middle class in contemporary Russian cinema.

This year’s symposium brings together recognized scholars and critics working in Russian film to provide introductions to the screenings. Scholars and critics attending the symposium will include Greg Dolgopolov, the curator and associate director of the Russian Resurrection Film Festival (Australia), and a member of the editorial board of Kino Kultura; Natascha Drubek, the editor of the Film & Screen Media section of www.ARTMargins.com; Masha Salazkina, whose articles frequently appear in Cinema Journal, Screen, and Kino Kultura; and Barbara Wurm, programmer for the goEast film festival (Wiesbaden), whose work has appeared in Senses of Cinema, Sight and Sound, and Ray, among other publications.

A schedule of films follows. All films shown on Pitt’s campus are free and open to the public. Admission to each evening film is $4 for Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University, and Art Institute of Pittsburgh students, $7 for students from other institutions, and $8 for nonstudents. 

Monday, April 29
9:00 a.m.
Chapiteau-Show I (2011)
Directed by Sergei Loban
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland
A surreal cabaret comedy, Chapiteau-Show I examines a Crimean resort town’s debilitating effect on basic human relationships in four intersecting episodes, each about a different kind of love between people. The film will be introduced by Terrence Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Pitt. 

2:00 p.m.
Chapiteau-Show II (2011)
Directed by Sergei Loban
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland
Chapiteau-Show II examines personal relationship, featuring a father-and-son story and an impersonator of Soviet musician Viktor Tsoi. The film will be introduced by Ana Olenina, assistant professor of Film Studies at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. A response from Trevor Wilson, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Pitt, will follow the film. 

Tuesday, April 30
9:00 a.m.
Generation P (2011)
Directed by Viktor Ginzburg
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland
Generation P, adapted from a novel by Viktor Pelevin, uses the story of an advertising copywriter to explore themes of post-Soviet Russian life. The film will be introduced by Barbara Wurm, with a response from Irina Anisimova, PhD candidate in Pitt’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, to follow the film.

2:00 p.m.
Dukhless (2012)
Directed by Roman Prygunov
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland
Dukhless, a consumer love story, tells the story of hedonistic Max as he begins to reexamine his life. The film will be introduced by Masha Salazkina, and followed by a response from Olga Mukhortova, Ph.D. candidate in Pitt’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Wednesday, May 1
9:00 a.m.
White Moor (2011)
Directed by Dmitrii Fiks
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland
White Moor follows the troubled personal lives of three professionally successful men in a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello. The film will be introduced by Lucy Fischer, Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at Pitt. A response from Theodora Kelly Trimble, Ph.D. candidate in Pitt’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, will follow the film. 

7:30 p.m.
Kokoko (2012)
Directed by Avdotya Smirnova
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland
Kokoko tells the story of the friendship between Vika, a woman from the provinces, and the more worldly Liza, who met by chance in a train compartment on the way to St. Petersburg. The film will be introduced by Barbara Wurm. 

Thursday, May 2
9:00 a.m.
An Office Romance: Our Time (2011)
Directed by Sarik Andreasian
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland

An Office Romance: Our Time is a remake of the classic 1977 film Office Romance. The film will be introduced by Inna Khatkovskaya, lecturer at the Department of Media at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania. Natalia Ryabchikova, Ph.D. candidate in Pitt’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, will provide a response to the film. 

7:30 p.m.
Rita’s Last Fairy Tale (2012)
Directed by Renata Litvinova
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland
Rita’s Last Fairy Tale, an art-house “chick flick,” tells the story of terminally ill Rita and her caretaker, Tania, the angel of death in disguise. The film will be introduced by Natascha Drubek. 

Friday, May 3
9:00 a.m.
Twilight Portrait (2011)
Directed by Angelina Nikonova
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland

A rape-revenge melodrama, Twilight Portrait deals with a range of issues affecting contemporary Russia, including sexual violence, dysfunctional families, child abuse, and police brutality. The film will be introduced by Greg Dolgopolov and a response from Kiun Hwang, Ph.D. candidate in Pitt’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, will follow the film. 

2:00 p.m.
Elena (2011)
Directed by Andrei Zviagintsev
Room 106, David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland
Elena, a meditation on morality, history, and social relationships, depicts the social and cultural divisions among inhabitants of an exclusive Moscow apartment. The film will be introduced by Natascha Drubek, with a response from Gerald McCausland, director of Pitt’s Russian language program. 

7:30 p.m.
Gromozeka (2011)
Directed by Vladimir Kott
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland
Gromozeka traces the reunion of three high school friends and former bandmates, exploring the lives they’ve made. The film will be introduced by Greg Dolgopolov.

Saturday, May 4
7:30 p.m.
Short Stories (2012)
Directed by Mikhail Segal
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, 477 Melwood Ave., Oakland

A cinematographic mosaic of Russian literary identity, Short Stories presents a fiction manuscript that influences the lives of those who come in contact with it. The film will be introduced by Gerald Mccausland.

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

All films will be shown in Russian with English subtitles. Visit www.rusfilm.pitt.edu for more information and a full schedule of screenings, or contact Prof. Padunov at 412-624-5713 or padunov@pitt.edu.

###

4/23/13/mab/cjhm