Power, Poetics, and Play: Documenting Soviet Legacies, a documentary film series that brings a critical lens to better our understanding of Russia and its neighbors, continues in Fall 2021 with three films to be screened in September, October, and November. The series commenced in Spring 2021 with three film screenings throughout that semester, each followed by a seminal discussion with faculty and the filmmakers themselves.
The series recommences on September 23 with a screening of Truba [Pipeline] (2013), a documentary travelogue by Vitaly Mansky that follows the lives of communities along the pipeline transporting gas from Siberia to Europe. Professor Margarita Balmaceda (Seton Hall University, author of Russian Energy Chains) will provide commentary and respond to questions in a bookend conversation moderated by Professor Michael De Groot (International Studies). The film’s window on disruption and continuity around the pipeline and its economic, political, and human dimensions makes Truba a highly germane contribution to the IU Themester with its current focus on “Resilience.” In Kolyma: Road of Bones (2017), set to be screened on October 14, director Stanislaw Mucha juxtaposes the atrocities of the GULAG (in part through the poignant observations of writer and Kolyma GULAG survivor Varlam Shalamov) with the lives of local people now living along the 1200-mile “road of bones” that stretches from Magadan to Yakutsk—indigenous, newcomers, those with family histories connected to the labor camps, and those who, somehow, have never heard of the camps. Professor Tyler Kirk (University of Alaska Fairbanks) will join RSW faculty virtually to introduce and answer audience questions about the film, which won Best Documentary Film at the Achtung Berlin Film Festival 2018. The series concludes on November 4 when Ukrainian-born writer-director Sergei Loznitsa will join virtually for a Q&A session to follow the screening of his State Funeral (2019), which pieces original footage together and reframes it to great effect, documenting without any additional narration the four days leading up to Stalin’s funeral. Loznitsa offers clear, stark images of the massive ceremony in all its mind-numbing pageantry as well as the propaganda and cult of personality that surrounded the leader in life and in death.
For more information about the series and the individual films it features, see RSW Film Series.