Vol 10, No 4 (2018)



Editorial -.


The international ties of VGIK with universities and national schools of different countries are developing rapidly. Confirmation is the 38th VGIK International Student Film Festival, which was successfully completed in Moscow, or the Student Oscar, as the Russian press calls it. In anticipation of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the celebrated Russian university and the 120th anniversary of Sergei Eisenstein, the festival was attended by future cinematographers from 38 film schools from 36 countries presented 43 films for the competition program. Another proof is the holding of VGIK Days, which took place at the end of 2018 in the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Uzbekistan, Italy, and Romania. And everywhere delegation VGIK waited for a warm and friendly welcome.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):6
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The Influence of World Cinema Masterpieces on the Creative Worldview of the Filmmaker

Malyshev V.S.


The article is devoted to the influence of a masterpiece on the creative person’s emotional perception and the role of this phe nomenon on the artist’s formation. The author analyses the relationship between the force of aesthetical experience and the filmmaker’s artistic style as well as the significance of this event in the context of the filmmaker’s work. The analysis is based on the author’s personal conversations with outstanding Russian directors.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):8-23
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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):24
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Contemporary Russian Cinema and Its World Contexts

Reisen O.K.


The author of the essay examines the main trends in contemporary Russian cinema, correlating them with similar manifestations in world cinema and, simultaneously, tracing the origins of these phenomena to the Soviet cinematic past. Thus, the essay’s section devoted to the analysis of manifestations of the Aesopian language in cinema, reveals models of the use of metaphors, symbolic allusions, etc., — observed in the cinema of the socialist countries or in Spanish cinema under the Franco regime - as ways of countering censorship bans. In this context, it should be noted that these trends became firmly established in the cultures of the mentioned countries and have been preserved in them after the acquisition of political freedoms.

The section entitled “Utopian Realism vs “New Sociality” analyses the technique of combining slice-of-life approach with the magic tale canon, opened by American director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin in the 1930s, known as “utopian realism” and widely employed in the Russian cinema of the past quarter-century, in particular in the stage-to-screen trend of the New Drama.

The essay also looks at forms and methods of the trend of magical realism typical of the turning points in the historical development of different countries and here exemplified by the cultures of Latin America and the Russian cinema of the 1990s. Further, the author analyses the adaptation of Hollywood genre click.s for Russian blockbusters, as well as a more frank representation of social realities in the context of new developments in the sphere of economy.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):26-39
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The Image of the Provinces in the Russian Cinema of the 2000s As a Focus of Civil Identity

Mikheeva Y.V.


The essay investigates contemporary Russian films about the Russian provinces from the perspective of a major objective of the state cultural policy — that of ‘‘the strengthening of civil identity’’. This investigation raises a number of questions related to the concept, the understanding and the experience of civil and national identity, questions that fascinate both the filmmakers and the viewers. In this context, of particular interest are films about the provinces: they tell us about life in Russia’s distant regions, searching for phenomena that could unite a huge country into a unified civil society. In the Russian cinematography of the 2000s and 2010s, stories related to life in the provinces have become a fruitful field for exploring and reflecting on this theme at a completely different, compared to the Soviet era, level of internal directorial freedom which involves both previously untouched factual material and the authorial approach to it.

These films represent a large number of pressing problems of the Russian provinces in various artistic formats: from realistic dramas to tragicomedies and philosophical parables. In spite of the rather gloomy overall panorama of provincial reality, we can still acknowledge that the impenetrable desperation of a director's view of the life in the Russian provinces does not represent a universal attitude, and can conclude that there is an ongoing search for an “optimistic scenario” for the development of Russian life, primarily through trying to see and understand the Otherness (space-time) and the Other (human being). It is such an efforts to understand and find semantic platforms that could unite most diverse personalities and induce conversations about civil and national, rather than local, identity. These conversations through film art are intrinsically connected with the authorial intonations permeating the stories told on screen.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):40-52
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Involuntary Behavior of Gogol’s Heroes

Mildon V.I.


A screen adaptation usually leads to certain losses for the literary original. To avoid these losses, a filmmaker and a screenwriter need to study attentively the original literary work and temporarily become philologists who realize the intrinsic incompatibility of the two aesthetics. The essay explores this problem using the example of Nikolai Gogol, the creator of in-depth psychological prose in Russian literature, a phenomenon that requires the search for new visual film techniques. Specifically, the author analyzes the involuntary movements of Gogol’s characters — movements which are not controlled by consciousness and which were explored by Gogol in a most extensive way. Actually, the depiction of such movements — in the story “The Fair at Sorochyntsi”— began his path to literary glory.

Gogol was interested in unconscious motions as inexplicable and mysterious traits of literary characters’ psychology. He hoped to solve their mystery in his books in order to solve it in life. By portraying the still unknown psychology of literary characters, Gogol was not only an innovator in the field of Russian prose; he also foresaw certain discoveries of Western analytical psychology. A filmmaker who would take into account Gogol’s discoveries could possibly reveal novel artistic meanings in his literary work.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):54-61
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Transformation of the Archaic Myth and the Discourse of Power in Alexander Sokurov’s “Moloch”

Vinogradov V.V.


The essay analyses the transformation of the myth in the work of Alexander Sokurov, specifically in his biographical drama ‘‘Moloch’’. The author explores the mythology of the mountain in German culture, relating it to the neo-mythology constructed in Sokurov’s film. The focus of the essay is the image of Kehlsteinhaus as the embodiment of the mythological Asgard, which is assigned to the future. Most important components of the phenomenon of Nazism — mythological dreams of the Thousand-Year Reich, the Kingdom of the righteous — are born here. According to the author, we see again a variation on Sokurov’s main theme of man’s loneliness and orphanhood. However, this theme is revealed in “Moloch” in an unexpected manner: the consciousness of the unfortunate, for whom Sokurov usually feels compassion, becomes a fertile ground for Nazism. This is a starting point for transforming Yuri Arabov’s screenplay ‘‘Mystery of the Mountain’’ into Alexander Sokurov’s film ‘‘Moloch’’.

Pagan Moloch becomes the central image of the new Nazi mythology (as interpreted by Sokurov). The essay’s author analyzes three incarnations of this image. One is Adolf Hitler himself, the most unfortunate person who, at the same time, is happy with his own misfortune and who takes within the mountain world the position of Wotan, demanding more and more victims. In Sokurov’s film, Hitler is a miserable and whimsical God, possessed by many phobias. The second incarnation of the Godhead is ideological: the idea of a great Germany, a Thousand-Year Reich to which millions are sacrificed, including the ‘‘inhabitants of heaven’’ themselves. At the heart of this idea is the ancient harmony talked about by Hitler: a rational and harmonious world that requires the destruction of everything not corresponding to its nature. Only such purified, cold beauty and perfection, coupled with the ethical qualities of the Supreme Being, have the right to existence. The Third incarnation is entropy, Moloch’s main hypostasis. Sokurov shows it primarily in the form of phobias which bring about death and are the starting points for the creation of the coldest of harmonies.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):62-68
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Composition as a Method of Communication in the Teaching of Fine Arts

Sveshnikov A.V.


The abundance of artistic trends that arose at the turn of the 21st century gave rise to many art schools and art trends each of which has its own conceptual traits and its own view of the aesthetic nature of artistic creativity. At first glance, it may appear that we are dealing with a chaotic, random, temporary process. However, on closer examination, it turns out that this process has a very deep development logic and requires a highly serious attitude and a comprehensive scientific study.

In each artistic trend, talented artists work in accordance with their worldviews, with their own attitudes to the nature of art. This process also involves professional art theorists and art historians. Therefore, this phenomenon should be treated with all possible seriousness, since it is not accidental but innate. However, all of the above creates considerable difficulties when it comes to teaching fine arts. Teachers who adhere to a specific artistic trend — for example, the realistic academic school and its firmly established methods — sometimes encounter well-informed students who very soon begin to see the proposed assignments as having certain artistic limitations. This has an immediate negative effect on their attitudes toward learning.

In this case, the main task of the teacher is to avoid losing contact with the student by showing him that the proposed framework of learning exercises addresses a number of problems common to the vast majority of artistic trends. Here it is necessary to highlight what constitutes the common foundation of the most diverse artistic trends and to make clear that without mastering such foundation it is impossible to realize any artistic concept in a truly professional way. It is important to show that there exists a single foundation on which one can subsequently establish many different artistic trends. In this context, the essay aims to present the theory and practice of composition as a common educational basis; and to demonstrate that the learning process should rely on compositional techniques imparting that formal integrity which cannot be ignored by any art trend or art school.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):69-77
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Riddle as a Structural Element of the Quest Genre

Yankovskiy A.N.


One of the most popular forms of contemporary mass culture today is the genre of ‘quest’, which is presented in a variety of formats, from videos games and cinema to city tours and specially equipped game spaces. Whatis the secret of the popularity of the quest form, which roots may be found in the sphere of the archaic, in myths and rituals? The author believes that, initially, the presence of riddle in the structure of quest determines its popularity in literature, and then in cinema, video games and reality quests.

At the moment, the actual trend is the simulation of virtual experience in reality in modern media culture, which is often expressed through the form of quests and riddles. The phenomenon of the riddle in the context of “real virtuality” was not previously explored from the culturological perspective since the discussed art-game forms have appeared relatively recently and just begin to be understood. Art history and film science analysis methods have been used to study the ar aspect of the subject. Descriptive and comparative analyses, based on the studies in the history of cinema and visual arts (including modern art), were used in regard to new forms of mass culture.

Ever since the days of the archaic, riddles performed various functions: ritual, social, cognitive, entertaining, and neutralizing. In modern quests, riddles are a synthesis of various traditions, devoid of sacred meaning, but reproducing certain archetypes. As a postmodernist type of creativity, the modern quest is a multi-layered quotation of various cultural layers, symbols, and references — both in regard to myths and literary works, as well as in regard to cinematic images.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):78-87
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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):88
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The Culture of the XVIIIth Century and the Return to the Human Being

Pondopulo G.K.


The essay analyses typological features of the culture of the XVIIIth century, revealing the radical refocusing of the whole cultural process from the cosmological idea to the anthropological one and the humanistic foundations of modern culture, defining the personalized form of culture and discovering the human being's self-comprehension as the subject of perception and creativity as exemplified in the philosophical works of Giambattista Vico, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Gottfried Herder and Immanuel Kant.

The essay explores typological features of culture of the XVIIIth century. The relevance of this exploration is determined by the author's study of the sources of modern culture and identification of its main value orientations. The author suggests a novel approach to the problem: to consider the examined cultural epoch as an establishment of a new, in comparison with Ancient Rome and the Renaissance, form of humanism. The writings of such quintessential representatives of the era as Giambattista Vico, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Gottfried Herder and Immanuel Kant reflect a significant intellectual revolution: the transition from the culture of reason to the modern personalized culture, the loss of culture’s traditional connection with the cosmological idea and the replacement of that idea with the anthropological one. The essay demonstrates the continuity of the above-mentioned authors' views and the reflection of a unified thinking strategy in the philosophical works of the Enlightenment.

The late XVIII and the early XIX centuries were characterized by the spread of the term ‘‘Bildung’’. Its emergence meant a new understanding of culture not just as the ‘‘second nature’’, the totality of everything created by mankind, but above all as the process of ‘‘a human being's elevation to the human within humankind.’’ The creation of the scientific worldview and the human being's self-understanding as the subject of perception and creativity became qualitatively new phenomena of the era, which significantly influenced the process of the self-liberation of the human spirit. The author emphasizes the typological difference of the XVIII century from the XVII century in the context of general cultural orientations peculiar to the Late Modern Era: the idea of culture is henceforth associated not with the mind itself, but with the human ability to use all the achievements of the activity of human reason for humankind's benefit and the human being's manifestation as a free individual who is able to set any goals. The paper employs a systematic approach to identify the main semantic content and value orientation of culture.

The author's conclusions are of importance for understanding of the underlying foundations of the modern European and Russian cultures, for its self-knowledge.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):90-102
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The Philosophy of Art, Aesthetics and Art History as Scientific Disciplines

Nikitina I.P.


The essay defines the specifics of aesthetics, art philosophy and art study. It describes and analyses interdisciplinary differences as well as similarities determined by the common subject of study. The author maintains that art philosophy and art criticism differ by the level of their commonality and, therefore, by the type of their connections to empirical reality. Art criticism — even in its theoretical form — is closer to artistic experience, usually demonstrating empirical ways of testing its hypotheses. Art philosophy is more abstract, its concepts emanating not so much from specific art objects but from the whole experience of art perception. Higher levels of abstraction and speculation provide the philosophy of art with much wider horizons. However, this is fraught with certain dangers often rendering art philosophy too schematic and speculative.

Analyzing links between art philosophy and aesthetics, the author concludes that though the main content of art philosophy is aesthetical, almost all its themes have aspects which go beyond the sphere of aesthetics. In art philosophy, the aesthetical and the extra-aesthetical are so tightly interconnected that any attempts to separate them and to discuss solely the aesthetical characteristics of art result in an artificial construction which harms the very concept of the aesthetical.

The essay postulates that the level of scholarly objectivity in art philosophy and aesthetics is higher than that in art criticism, as the latter is more dependent on judgements about art and, therefore, is more subjective.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):103-114
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The Influence of Frank Wedekind’s Work on the German Cinema of the Early XX Century

Smagina S.A.


Lulu, the heroine of Frank Wedekind’s plays, becomes the neurological point in the German cinema of the 1920s marking the shift of moral references in the society connected with the re-evaluation of gender roles. Lulu embodies the conception of a new woman based on sexual equality as the foundation of the renovation of the society and harmonization of the world that emerges at the turn of the XX century. Through the comparative study of the literary source material and the film Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box) directed by G.W. Pabst, the author examines the cinematic representation of this image.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):116-124
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The Impact of Creative Content on the Modification of the Film Exhibition Structure in Russia

Bezenkova M.V.


Taking into consideration the peculiarities of Russian film distribution, the article presents a wide range of basic trends in the artistic content meant for demonstration in cinemas. The author also studies the conceptual, structural and economic advantages of this distribution model as essential for Russian film industry.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):126-137
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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):138
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Visual Picture of the World in the Reflection of Modern Media

Utilova N.I.


The article investigates the problems of reflecting the world’s visual picture in modern media, the techniques of revealing multiple meanings through visual codes and corporality, the methods of affecting the audience’s sense perception as exemplified by television. The author makes a comparative study of the concepts ‘screen truth’ and ‘facts of life’ in film and video content. The analysis of these issues allows the author to take a new look at the process of searching the expressiveness of screen culture including off-screen media content and art projects.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):140-151
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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):152-157
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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2018;10(4):158-160
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