Power, Poetics, and Play: Documenting Soviet Legacies–Blogs on the Film Series

Art and scholarship meet in this 2021 documentary film series offering a critical lens for better understanding Russia. Co-hosted by the Russian Studies Workshop and the Center for Documentary Research and Practice. This page compiles the blog posts about the films. Here is the list of films and their screening dates with links to the blog pages:

Operation Wedding, screening February 19, 2021–The compelling story of the filmmaker’s parents and others who, in 1970, conspired to escape the Soviet Union for freedom in Israel. Decades later, the filmmaker and her mother retrace the group’s journey from a Soviet airport to a KGB prison. Archives, reenactments, and interviews with KGB officers enhance this inspiring story of young Jews who imagined freedom and cracked the Iron Curtain. In English, Russian, and Hebrew.

Будинок (Budynok), screening March 5, 2021–The Building (Будинок/Das Haus) is an essayistic architecture documentary dwelling on modern-day Ukraine, Constructivism, and the Soviet revolution. “In the east of Ukraine lies Derzhprom, the House of State Industry. Built between 1925 and 1928, it was intended to embody the idea of communism. Although it was a poster child for the avant-garde movement, now it seems almost forgotten. Derzhprom acts as a kind of time machine. Space becomes time here. The Building moves between classic, observational documentary and experimental cinema. With very little dialogue, it is rather a poem of moving images. Through the use of mixed materials, including archive films from the 1920s, it reflects on how past and present, movement and time are related to the static nature of architecture.” [description from https://docudays.ua/eng/2020/movies/docu-ukraine/budinok/]

VOY (БОЙ), screening April 30, 2021–This documentary film tells the story of the Russian Paralympic Blind Football team, which is preparing for the most important event of their lives–the European championship. The team has only one goal–to win the gold medal at any cost. Film includes English subtitles.