Russian Film at Yale

Russian Film Series Fall 2017



The now 100-year-old October Revolution was the central political event of the 20th century. It created the vortex around which everything post-1917 - the rise of fascism; the various Popular Fronts; the Second World War; the Cold War; the Third World moment and decolonization; revolutions in China, Vietnam, Cuba and elsewhere; Communism’s own fratricidal conflicts and ultimate global decline - swirled, at greater or lesser distance. The centennial offers us the chance to reflect on the long history of cinematic representations of the Revolution and its aftermath, representations which in many cases also stand as major, internationally acknowledged monuments of film art by such masters as Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Esfir Shub, Miklós Jancsó and Aleksei German.

In our first semester, we will look at the first decade of revolutionary film, from the early years of Soviet silent film through the beginnings of the sound era. All films will be shown on celluloid, DCP or blu-ray, and all silent films will be accompanied by live music, making this a rare chance to see some of the most important films ever made in superb viewing conditions.

All screenings at the


53 Wall St, New Haven

Free and open to the public

September 23, 7 pm: STRIKE (directed by Sergei Eisenstein, 1924)

One of the truly legendary feature debuts in the history of cinema - Eisenstein was only 26 when he directed it - and the spark that exploded into the great tradition of militant labor films, STRIKE at once takes us back to the colossal workers’ revolts in Russia at the turn of the century, and looks forward to the dazzling and still-startling achievements of the Soviet cinematic avant-garde.


Introduction by John MacKay, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Film and Media Studies, Yale.

October 4, 7 pm: OCTOBER (directed by Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov, 1928)

The most famous and the most controversial of all film commemorations of the 1917 revolution, OCTOBER was both the first film to land Eisenstein in trouble with the Soviet authorities, and arguably the work in which his provocative ideas about “intellectual montage” were most fully realized. A work of unique historical importance, OCTOBER is one of the most formally elaborate, conceptually rich, and emotionally charged films of the entire silent era.


Introduction by John MacKay, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Film and Media Studies, Yale.

October 25, 7 pm: STORM OVER ASIA (directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1928)

A unique blend of revolutionary epic, satirical comedy and ethnography, Pudovkin’s extraordinary film tells the story of a Mongol trapper (played by Valery Inkizhinov in one of the most unforgettable performances of the silent era) who moves from persecuted colonial subject to puppet monarch of Mongolia to revolutionary leader.


Introduction by John MacKay, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Film and Media Studies, Yale.

November 8, 7 pm: THE FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY (directed by Esfir Shub, 1927)

The first independent work of Esfir Shub, Soviet female director and a pioneer of compilation film, Fall of the Romanov Dynasty shows tsarist Russia in the years prior to the Bolshevik revolution. Made entirely of old newsreel footage, the film employs montage to expose the decay of the old regime and escalating class struggle.


Introduction by Anastasia Kostina, Slavic Languages and Literatures and Film and Media Studies, Yale.

November 29, 7pm: FRAGMENT OF AN EMPIRE​ (directed by Fridrikh Ermler, 1929)

A young military officer returns to St. Petersburg in the wake of the Civil War, only to find his native city completely trans formed by the newly emergent proletarian class.  One of Fridrikh Ermler’s best known works, this silent film is a paragon of cinematic psychologism and Soviet montage.​


Introduction by Ana Berdinskikh, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Yale.

December 6, 7 pm: CHAPAYEV (directed by Sergei and Georgii Vasil’ev, 1934)

Described by Vladimir Putin as his “favorite film”, Chapaev tells the story of an average peasant during the Russian Civil War with an organic talent for leadership. In coupling the heroic register of socialist realism with down to earth humor, the film gives a romantic account of the tragic struggle that helped to define Soviet identity.

Introduction by John Stachelski, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Yale

Sponsored by Russian Studies Program; European Studies Council; MacMillan Center; Whitney Humanities Center; the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund

Russian Film Series Spring 2017

Black Sea Film Symposium

Convened by Marijeta Bozovic and John MacKay

Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 | Luce Hall Auditorium | Yale University


    2:30 pm: The Event (dir. Sergey Loznitsa, 2016)

    4:00 pm: The Student (dir. Kirill Serebrennikov, 2016)

    6:30 pm: Round table discussion


    12:45 pm: Domino Effect (dir. Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski, 2014) and When Will This Wind Stop (dir. Aniela Gabryel, 2015)

    5:30 pm: Graduation (dir. Cristian Mungiu, 2016)

    5:30 pm: Mustang (dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)

    7:30 pm: Round table discussion

All films will be introduced and followed by reception.


Russian Film Series Fall 2016


Russian Film at Yale Presents:


One of the greatest contemporary auteurs, Aleksandr Sokurov has been making art cinema, both fiction and documentary, since the late 1970s. Russian Film at Yale is proud to have gathered together a collection of films – some of them true rarities – for this magnificent program. Visually stunning and formally provocative, Sokurov’s unabashedly sensual work will move, unsettle, and perhaps even transport you. We are also delighted to be able to show several shorts made by Sokurov’s students or with his support. Please join us for this series of events with special guests. All films will be presented with English subtitles. 


53 Wall Street, New Haven · free and open to public

Download the poster

September 28, 7 p.m. MOLOCH (1999) 102 min.

Sparking critical controversy upon its release, Sokurov’s meditation on power creates a portrait of Adolf Hitler and his coterie holed up in the Bavarian Alps for a retreat in the late spring of 1942.

Introduced by Paul North, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University

October 12, 7 p.m. TAURUS (2001) 94 min.

The second part in Sokurov’s quartet of films concerning 20th-century tyrants, this story is based on the last days of the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin.

Introduced by Katerina Clark, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures/Film and Media Studies, Yale University

Preceded by SLIGHTLY OPENING THE DOOR (2013) 12 min., dir. By Malika Musaeva

Malika Musaeva is a student of Aleksandr Sokurov’s Workshop at the Kabardino-Balkarian State University in Nalchik.

October 27, 5 p.m. FRANCOFONIA (2015) 90 min. followed by CINEMUSE: SELFIE WITH SOKUROV (2016, documentary interview by Dragan Kujundžić)

Over a decade after his masterwork, The Russian Ark (2002), Sokurov’s Francofonia continues the tradition of the director’s “museum films.” Set in the Louvre during the Nazi occupation, this dark companion piece to his 2002 tour de force offers a visually stunning exploration of art and its place in history. The film premiered at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival and received the prestigious Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award.

Presented by Dragan Kujundžić, University of Florida

*Please note that this special event will take place on a Thursday in Room 208 at the Whitney Humanities Center

November 9, 7 p.m. FAUST (2011) 134 min.

In his take on the age-old tale of a man sacrificing his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge, Sokurov continues his exploration of power started in Moloch and Taurus. With dazzling, constantly moving camera work, a richly textured soundscape, and a meticulously composed mise-en-scene, the film creates a vision of Goethe’s poetic drama unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Introduced by Kirk Wetters, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University

Preceded by SHE IS WAITING (2014), 7 min., dir. by Maryana Kalmykova

Maryana Kalmykova is a student of Aleksandr Sokurov’s Workshop at the Kabardino-Balkarian State University in Nalchik.

November 30, 7 p.m. STONE (1992) 83 min.

Susan Sontag described it as one of the best films of the 90s, and her own personal favorite. Set and shot in the Chekhov Museum, Stone has been described by various critics as “evanescent,” “fugitive,” and “oneiric.” A museum guard one night encounters an older man in the museum whose identity is uncertain. Could he be the famous writer’s ghost? The gorgeous black and white cinematography and carefully crafted soundtrack will leave you breathless.

Introduced by Toni Dorfman, Theater Studies, Yale University

Preceded by MY BROTHER IS A SUPERHERO (2015), 23 min., dir. By Tatiana Rakhmanova.

Tatiana Rakhmanova’s film was made with the support of Aleksandr Sokurov’s Foundation for the Support of Cinema, “Primer Intonatsii.”

December 7, 7 p.m. DAYS OF ECLIPSE (1988) 133 min.

As a young medical researcher posted to Soviet Turkmenistan looks into the health effects of religious practice, mysterious and inexplicable forces intervene in his personal quest for truth. This stunningly unconventional adaptation of brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Soviet science fiction novella “Billion Years to the End of the World” is arguably Sokurov’s masterpiece.

Introduced by Dudley Andrew, Film and Media Studies/Department of Comparative Literature, Yale University

Sponsored by the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund at Yale University, the European Studies Council, the MacMillan Center, the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale Film and Media Studies,

and the Yale Slavic Film Colloquium

Russian Film Series Spring 2016

Russian Film at Yale invites you to discover contemporary Russia through the eyes of a talented new generation of emerging filmmakers. Tackling a range of contentious subjects — from homosexuality to police brutality — many of these films unleashed a storm of controversy in Russia and secured the reputation of their directors on the international circuit. Join us for the screenings — and stay tuned for the guest appearance of several of the film directors in person!

Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT
Free and open to the public

All films will be presented with English subtitles.

January 27, 7 pm: THE MAJOR (2013, 99 min.)
Yuri Bykov
A gritty portrayal of police brutality and flagrant corruption, suffused with ambivalence and cynicism, and inspired by real-life events. Yuri Bykov has been hailed as the “next Balabanov” for his ability to bring together popular and arthouse audiences through smart, political, not-quite-genre films. Introduction by Dasha Ezerova, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Yale.

February 10, 7 pm: FOR MARX (2012, 100 min.)
Svetlana Baskova
The New Left announces its presence forcefully in this darkly comical and violent tale of class struggle in post-Soviet Russia. What was old is new again: Malevich’s Black Square and clandestine labor union meetings mix with meta-commentary on French New Wave and Hollywood. Introduction by Vika Paranyuk and Andrey Tolstoy, Film and Media Studies, Yale.

February 24, 7 pm: NAME ME (2014, 93 min)
Nigina Saifullaeva
In this coming of age story, two teenage girls trade places when one is afraid to meet her biological father. What begins as a joke turns into a psychological drama revealing aspects of the girls’ characters that they had no idea existed. Introduction by Anastasia Kostina, Film and Media Studies & Slavic Languages and Literatures, Yale.

March, 7 pm: THE HOPE FACTORY (2014, 90 min.)
Natalia Meschaninova
Trash aesthetics and true grit mark this chronicle of Arctic youth in the remote industrial town of Norilsk. Seventeen-year-old Sveta pins her dreams of escape on a long-distance romance – and all her rage on the equally young local sex worker, Nadia. Introduction by Oksana Chefranova, Visiting Fellow in Film and Media Studies, Yale.

April 6, 7 pm: TWILIGHT PORTRAIT​* (2011, 105 min.)
Angelina Nikonova
A micro-budget film as disturbing as it is timely, Twilight Portrait defies genre and convention at every turn. The dark fairy tale that results is a Rorschach test for critics, who have taken the film as a revenge fantasy, an erotic thriller, or a tale of political eros. Introduction by Fabrizio Fenghi and Marijeta Bozovic, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Yale.
*Location: TBA

April 13, 7 pm: WINTER JOURNEY (2013, 95 min.)
Sergei Taramaev and Liubov Lvova
A brilliant young classical singer falls in love with a street thug in a tale that frames class difference as the major complication within a same-sex romance in post-Soviet Russia. Schubert sets the score and the atmosphere of this visually and aurally gorgeous film. Introduction by Marta Figlerowicz, Comparative Literature and English, Yale.

Sponsored by The European Studies Council, with a Russian Studies grant from the Carnegie Foundation, The MacMillan Center, the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale Film and Media Studies, and the Yale Slavic Film Colloquium.

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