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Session Submission Type: Panel
The precarious circumstances that threaten the lives and artistic activity of contemporary filmmakers from Ukraine and Russia have elicited international expressions of solidarity with their film communities through increased festival and scholarly visibility and alternative production venues. The struggles facing filmmakers in this brutal situation recall the contestatory trajectories of postwar and post-Soviet filmmakers with deep personal and artistic connections to the region who thwarted institutional rejection, countered gender discrimination, and overcame ideological censorship.
This panel considers the strategies of three filmmakers faced with challenges posed by linguistic and political barriers, financial constraints and complex --and often dangerous-- production conditions. Born in Kyiv and educated in Petrograd, Anatole Litvak made films in Germany, France and England before moving to Hollywood in the late 1930s where he directed multilingual actors on international locations. Márta Mészáros was born in Budapest and spent her childhood in Kirgiszstan; trained in Moscow with Ukrainian and Russian directors Aleksandr Dovzhenko and Sergei Gerasimov at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK), her film career traversed international co-productions in Poland, France and Hungary, culminating with her masterpiece, the Diary tetralogy. Born of Romanian-Jewish descent in Soviet Bessarabia (now Moldova), Kira Muratova, also a graduate of VGIK, shot the majority of her films in Odessa; her first solo feature, Brief Encounters, was shelved until perestroika, while her major work, The Asthenic Syndrome, was the only film to be banned in the Soviet Union during perestroika.
Our panelists’ explore these directors’ subversion of authoritarian power through unyielding vision and defiance.
Anatole Litvak: From Kyiv to Hollywood - Harlow Loomis Robinson, Northeastern U
Márta Mészáros: Six Decades of Transnational Filmmaking - Catherine E. Portuges, U of Massachusetts Amherst
'I Continue through a Kind of Inertia': Kira Muratova’s Prophetic Ukrainian Arc - Sandra Joy Russell, Mount Holyoke College