UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Eleanor Rees

Eleanor Rees

Supervisors: Dr Rachel Morley and Dr Philip Cavendish

Email: eleanor.rees.16@ucl.ac.uk

Present status: MPhil candidate

Working title of thesis: The Kino-Khudozhnik and Set Design in Early Russian and Soviet Feature Film, c. 1908 - 1941

Research: My doctoral research explores the evolving role of an important but typically neglected figure - the kino-khudozhnik (film artist) - and of set design in feature film during cinema’s formative years, as an industry and a medium, in Russia and the Soviet Union. By examining the creative autonomy of the kino-khudozhnik and the nature of their collaborations with directors and cinematographers, my thesis looks to provide an alternative to the auteur-focused literature on cinema of this period and instead consider film as a complex creative process that involved multiple practitioners. Furthermore, my research explores the ways in which set design was used in film to articulate wider ideological concerns about the material environment, and the relationship between people and their material world. Settings on screen, my thesis argues, became an important means through which to propagate arguments about different modes of dwelling, experiences of byt (everyday life), and notions of subjectivity to the masses.

Research interests: Early 20th century Russian and Soviet art; interior architecture and design; history and theory of the object; film curatorship and preservation.