UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Biopolitics and Cinemas of the Body

09 October 2023, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm

Body representation in the neoliberal post-Soviet space

A SSEES Russian Cinema Research Group seminar with Daria Ezerova

This event is free.

Event Information

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Masaryk room
UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
16 Taviton street

The turn of the twenty-first century saw a renewed interest in the body on screen. From disaster films and body horror to movements like the French New Extreme or the Romanian New Wave, these new cinémas du corps transcended both generic and national boundaries. Russia followed this trend with works by filmmakers like Vasilii Sigarev, Valeriia Gai Germanika, and later Kantemir Balagov, whose visceral focus on the body is reminiscent of late-Soviet cinema. But instead of looking at these films as latter-day chernukha, in this talk, I consider their representations of physicality as a cultural response to a new kind of biopolitics that took place with the spread of neoliberalism to the post-Soviet space. Looking at Russian cinema alongside concurrent trends in European film reveals that while they may differ in modes of representing the body or the kinds of viewer they construct, all of them seek to create a biopolitical subject as a critique of social conditions that obtain under neoliberalism. Taking a transnational approach, the talk will also interrogate the extent to which the notion of cultural singularity can still be applied to twenty-first-century film and raise a broader question of how neoliberal subjectivity can be represented in the visual arts.

About the Speaker

Daria Ezerova

Assistant Professor of Contemporary Russian Studies at University of Cambridge

Daria V. Ezerova is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Russian Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her work focuses on Russian cinema from the late Soviet era to the present. She is currently completing a book, Derelict Futures: Russian Cinema and the Spaces of Postmodernity, about filmic representations of space and built environment that enfold attitudes toward history in the wake of the Soviet collapse. A recipient of the Harriman Institute postdoctoral fellowship, she has contributed to Slavic ReviewRussian ReviewStudies in Russian and Soviet CinemaSenses of Cinema, and KinoKultura. Since 2017, she has been president of the ASEEES Working Group on Cinema and Television.