January 31, 2015

Upcoming Spring 2015 List of Events

FRIDAY, 02/06/15, 2:00 pm, MONROE HALL 114

“Epic Film as a Tool of Hard & Soft Power During the Cold War”


Associate Professor of Russian Studies, William and Mary College

During the Cold War, the USSR and the U.S. imagined their ideological confrontation as a race. On the global film market, the USSR tried to compete with Hollywood films by producing big budget pictures that would match Hollywood blockbusters in technology, entertainment appeal, and cultural authority. These Soviet “prestige productions” pursued several, at times, conflicting goals. While Soviet cultural producers wanted these prestige films to generate profit, their primary agenda was to integrate Soviet film industry into global film markets and to “sell” Soviet socialism as a viable alternative to market capitalism. During the Cold War, Soviet studios invested the greatest amount of resources into two film projects: an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and a WWII epic initially titled Liberation of Europe. Drawing on Bakhtin’s theory of discourse, I examine the history of these epic films’ production and distribution as the process of articulating a distinct cinematic genre, and this genre’s importance in the present day Russian film production.

Sponsored by the Slavic Department. Co-sponsored by CREEES.

For questions about this event, please contact Anna Kromin (ask4mm@virginia.edu)