UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Dr Rachel Morley is awarded a two-year Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship

20 May 2020

Rachel Morley

Congratulations to Dr Rachel Morley, Associate Professor of Russian Cinema and Culture, who has been awarded a two-year Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for her project on ‘Forms of Female Subjectivity in Contemporary Russian Women’s Cinema’.

In the Soviet and early post-Soviet periods, Russian filmmaking was a male-dominated industry. Since the mid-2000s, however, the number of women directors working in Russia has risen dramatically: at the 2014 Kinotavr (Russia’s largest and most prestigious national film festival), eight of the 14 films in the main competition were directed by women, the first time that they had been in the majority. Russian women are also increasingly active in other filmmaking roles, as scriptwriters, cinematographers, production designers, editors and producers. This so-called ‘female shift’ has brought hitherto underexplored concerns to the fore, such as female sexuality and women’s emotional life, and introduced alternative perspectives on established issues, such as the crisis of Russian masculinity and Russia’s socio-political reality. Consequently, it has changed the face of contemporary Russian cinema.

This project will explore the work of Russian women filmmakers between 2000 and the present. Focussing on their representation of the personal, social and political experience of being a woman in contemporary Russia, it aims to chart how they represent women’s lives, identities and subjectivities thematically and to delineate how they express their perceptions and sensibilities aesthetically, through particular cinematic devices and techniques. By also foregrounding women who work in roles other than director, often on films directed by men, the project challenges the dominant critical approach to contemporary Russian cinema, which privileges male auteurs and overlooks the contributions of their women collaborators.

The project’s key output will be a monograph.

Keep updated on Dr Morley’s work by following her on Twitter @DrRachelMorley