Pathography: Renata Litvinova’s narratives of illness
24 February 2022, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm
A SSEES Russian Cinema Research Group seminar with Beata Waligórska-Olejniczak (Adam Mickiewicz University)
This event is free.
Renata Litvinova is a well-recognized Russian actress and film director whose successful endeavours include also screenwriting, film producing and fashion modelling. This talk examines two films directed by her: Rita’s Last Fairy Tale (Posledniaia skazka Rity, 2012) and The North Wind (Severnyi veter, 2021). The main focus of interest is the discussion of the problem of the female body perceived, first of all, through the role of gesture within the framework of space. Susan Sontag’s core domains of reflections, i.e. the phenomenon of illness, photography and kitsch (expressed inter alia in her Notes on ‘Camp’ and a series of essays on the subjects mentioned above) function both as the methodological background of the presentation and the leitmotivs describing all Litvinova’s works, as well as her artistic persona. The relationship between soma and the malady discourse constitutes a centre of attention for the speaker, who aims to show how the language of the body becomes the sphere of negotiation of power and the area of expression of ethical values. Approaching the pictures of death proposed by Litvinova, her use of dark humour, irony and strategies of romanticisation, the talk seeks also to enable an understanding of Litvinova’s works in the context of films by other female Russian directors.