The New Positive Hero

posted by SHorváth on 2009/04/25 16:23

[ Veranstaltungen - Conferences ]

The schedule for this year’s University of Pittsburgh Russian Film Symposium, called "The New Positive Hero: Masculinity and Genre in Recent Russian Cinema", is now available. It will run from Monday, May 4 through Saturday, May 9. Read an excerpt by clicking on more.
On this occasion I would especially like to mention the recently published new book by Nancy Condee, who will be one of the symposium’s participants, entitled “The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema” (Oxford University Press US, 2009).
At the center of this year’s Symposium is an examination of the interrelationship of two recent, seemingly unrelated developments in the Russian film industry: the emergence of genre cinema and the reconfiguration of masculinity on-screen. Russian screens for the past decade have presented viewers with a wide array of genre films: adaptations, historical and costume dramas, melodramas, romantic comedies, buddy films, re-makes, war films, social satires, etc. While the term “genre film” is still treated with caution by most Russian directors (some of whom vehemently deny they have ever made a genre film), the overwhelming body of evidence points to the fact that Russian cinema has moved away from the art-house/festival circuit to a domestic, viewer-friendly format with embedded predictability.
This emergence of genre cinema, in turn (or rather in tandem), has resulted in a more nuanced representation of masculinity on-screen. Genre conventions are quite inflexible (something that Russian film directors are still struggling to implement): comedies, for example, tend to eschew violence, romantic comedies rarely include a negative protagonist, etc. As a consequence, the representation of masculinity (as with all characterization) has to be tailored to the genre. [...]
The Symposium will screen and discuss twelve recent Russian films:
Aleksei Balabanov's Morphia (2008), Bakur Bakuradze's Shultes (2008), Mikhail Kalatozishvili's Wild Field (2008), and Nikita Mikhalkov's 12 (2007) at Pittsburgh Filmmakers; Aleksei German Jr.'s Paper Soldier (2008), Sergei Mokritskii's Four Ages of Love (2008), Vladimir Kott's The Fly (2008), Aleksandr Proshkin's Live and Remember (2008), Katia Shagalova's Once Upon a Time in the Provinces (2008), Karen Shakhnazarov's The Vanished Empire (2008), Pavel Bardin’s Russia-88 (2009), and Aleksei Uchitel''s Captive (2008) on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.