Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Talk: The Image of America in Soviet Film by Dmitri Kozlov, Irkutsk State University

Tue, April 28, 2015 | MEZ 1.210

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Talk: The Image of America in Soviet Film by Dmitri Kozlov, Irkutsk State University

In Soviet cinema, the theme of “America” was renewed during the sudden breakdown of social perspective after the revolution, when the traditional Russian lifestyle and culture appeared done away with. In the cultural and social mythology of the Soviet 1920s, the unfamiliar American way came to replace the traditional Russian utopia of the “City of Kitezh” – one of the images of the Russian “ideal.” Its unattainable desire was to move all pain and suffering to a “heaven on Earth” immediately and all at once. The idea of America as a prepared and ready technocratic miracle that stood alone in the desert, as if by magic, came to be very useful. It was important that America appeared both as real and of the ocean, as this was unattainable. Cinema naturally shared much information about America, and more importantly, its perceived creation by the “overseas genius,” Thomas Edison. And so, poetry, exoticism, romances on the big screen, technological oddities and the end of the world became closely associated with America. Thus, a new interest in “America” occurred in the years of perestroika, when the Soviet Union began to collapse.

This talk by Dr. Dmitri Kozlov (Irkutsk State University) will focus on the image of “America” in Soviet films of the 1920s-1940s, which played a significant functional role in Russian and Soviet culture.

Dmitri Kozlov is Professor at the departments of History and International Relations at Irkutsk State University. He has taught modern history, theories of nations and nationalism and Russian/post-Soviet politics since September 1998. Kozlov also serves as Director of the Center for Advanced Studies and Education at Irkutsk State University (www.mion.isu.ru). He was the leader of scientific projects concerning migration in Siberia, political modernization in Siberian regions and regimes of reproduction of historical memory in modern Russia, among others. Kozlov is a graduate of Irkutsk State University (Candidate of Sciences, 1997 – Moscow Institute of World Economics and International Relations).

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