27-29 September 2019
This full day screening programme brings together the work of director Alexander Shein (1933–2015, Moscow), produced through his innovative research lab SovPoliKadr (SovPolyFrame), established in the late 1960s. Framing the screenings is a discussion between art theorist and philosopher Keti Chukhrov and William Brown, Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Roehampton.
Formed at MosFilm, founded in 1924 and still Russia’s most important film studio, SovPoliKadr was dedicated to experimenting with visual narrative and multiple screen techniques. Short films were produced for official celebrations such as the Vladimir Lenin (1970) and Paris Commune centenaries (1971), or international events such as Expo ‘75. Seen outside their propagandistic role, they stand as exemplary works of highly innovative and politically engaged art.
Following on Sunday, This Is Not (a) Cinema premieres the work of CentrNauchFilm (Centre of Scientific and Educational Film) by Vladimir Kobrin (1942–1999, Moscow).
Organised with V–A–C Live, the performance led platform of V–A–C Foundation, founded in Moscow in 2009 for the production of new culture together with artists and audiences alike.
11.30 Welcome and introduction by Kirill Adibekov
Our March, 1970, 21’
Internationale, 1971, 23’
Man and the ocean, 1975, 10’
Both films are emblematic SovPoliKadr productions, with the multiscreen techniques referencing avant-garde visual and narrative codes. Overtly political, they engage with topics including the Paris Commune (1871), the Russian Revolution (1917) and Lenin’s party leadership.
Conceived for Expo ’75 (Okinawa, Japan) Man and the Ocean is an explicitly ecologically minded work taking on the main theme of the World Fair, as reflected in the title.
March on, Land of Mine, 1981, 10’
Song of the Homeland, 1982, 27’
In contrast to the revolutionary enthusiasm of the early 1970s, these two films are characterised by populist conservatism. There is an uncritical glorification of unity and labour in a country that would cease to exist within less than a decade.
13.30 LUNCH BREAK
VMayakovsky by Alexander Shein, 2017, 115’
Larger-than-life aspirations combined with overacting makes VMayakovsky exemplary of the conditions of its own production. Part rehearsal and part documentary, this film follows a company of actors trying to explain the figure of poet and playwright Vladimir Mayakovsky. The work follows Alexander Shein’s earlier takes on Mayakovsky, such as Our March, and is co-written and directed by Alexander Shein Jr.
16.35 Discussion: (non-) cinema and (non-) cinematic circuit
with Keti Chukhrov, William Brown, and Kirill Adibekov
Keti Chukhrov, art theorist, philosopher, associate professor at the Higher School of Economics in Cultural theory, Moscow, Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow at the Wolverhampton Un-ty, UK. She authored TO Be-To Perform. Theatre in Philosophic Critique of Art and is currently preparing for publication her book on the impact of socialist political economy of the Soviet cultural and philosophical context.
William Brown, Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Roehampton. His publications include Non-Cinema: Global Digital Filmmaking and the Multitude (Bloomsbury, 2018). He is a writer and director of a number of low-to-no budget films, such as The New Hope (2015).
Kirill Adibekov is a film curator at V-A-C Foundation and Chevening scholar.