UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Screening Soviet Nationalities - talk by Dr Oksana Sarkisova

16 October 2017, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Screening Soviet Nationalities

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Russian Cinema Research Group


Room 433, UCL SSEES 16 Taviton Street London WC1H 0BW

Dr Oksana Sarkisova (Central European University, Budapest) will present on "Screening Soviet Nationalities" at this seminar organised by the UCL SSEES Russian Cinema Research Group.

The presentation introduces the main lines of the argument of Sarkisova's monograph Screening Soviet Nationalities: Kulturfilms from the Far North to Central Asia (I.B Tauris, 2017). In the early decades of the Soviet Union filmmakers sought to create a cinematic map of the new state by portraying its land and peoples on screen. These films – at the time referred to as kulturfilms and today classified in film archives as documentaries – served as experimental grounds for developing the cinematic formulae of a multi-ethnic Soviet identity and developed multiple scenic, cultural and ethnographic modalities for showing the Soviet periphery. Screening Soviet Nationalities examines the non-fictional representations of the Soviet borderlands from the Far North to the Northern Caucasus and Central Asia between 1925-1940. Beginning with Dziga Vertov and his vision of the Soviet space as a unified, multi-national mosaic, Oksana Sarkisova rediscovers films by Vladimir Erofeev, Alexander Litvinov, Vladimir Shneiderov, Mikhail Slutskii, Amo Bek-Nazarov, Mikhail Kalatozov, Roman Karmen and other filmmakers who helped construct an image of Soviet ethnic diversity and left behind a lasting visual legacy. The presentation will focus on the construction of exoticism, backwardness and a multinational Soviet space through these remarkable and underexplored historical travelogues.

Oksana Sarkisova is Research Fellow at Blinken OSA Archivum at Central European University (Budapest) and Director of the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival Verzio (www.verzio.org). She has published on Soviet and Russian cinema and amateur photography, co-edited Past for the Eyes: East European Representations of Communism in Cinema and Museums after 1989 (2008), and authored Screening Soviet Nationalities: Kulturfilms from the Far North to Central Asia (2017). Her fields of research are early Soviet cinema, documentary filmmaking, amateur film and photography, and politics of memory. 

All Welcome to attend, no registration required.

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