Vol 13, No 1, 2021


The Year of Science and Technology

Editorial office a.


Overview of the achievements of Russian science, and not only in historical retrospect, but also in terms of popularization of modern domestic developments that can significantly improve the quality of life of Russians.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):6
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The Evolution of the Concept of the Victory in Russian Documentary Cinema

Prozhiko G.


Each generation of the post-war decades sought to rediscover the essence of the "great confrontation" between our people and Nazi invaders. Russian documentary filmmakers expressed each generation’s concept of the Great Victory in movies based on archival footage and testimonies of veterans. The article offers an overview of the interpretations of this topic by national documentary cinema from the first post-war years to the present.
There is an illusion that film preserves the image and meaning of the past forever. In fact, archival footage reveals the significance of the filmed event only in the context of the director’s intention and artistic message. This accounts for the eager desire of all post-war generations up to the present day to understand the essence of the key event of the 20th century — the Great Patriotic War — prompting filmmakers to return to film archives time and again to reconsider such an important page of our national history. The author examines the evolution of the concept of Victory in national documentaries both in the post-war decades and now. It is the insight into the representation of our Victory that testifies to the profundity of each generation’s historical viewpoint, the understanding of the originality of the nation’s spiritual strength, their ability to capture the vector of the country's development in the past experience.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):8-22
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Drama Features оf Documentary: Movie, TV Film, Streaming Platform

Trusevich E.


The article examines drama features and directing decisions of non-fiction TV movies and documentary films. Using two films as examples – a renowned movie “Katyusha” (dir. V.Lisakovich, 1964, USSR) and a television film “Katyusha Big and Small” (dir. I.Firsova, 2008, Russia) author examines fundamental differences between for-screen film and television stylistics. As the choice of these films for a comparative analysis, author underlines that both products share the same plot – the combat path of the nurse Ekaterina Demina, her reflections on the War from peacetime perspective; meanwhile, both films have very different director's attitudes. In the first case, director in his masterpiece has used innovative techniques to unfold the heroine, while the second one represents a high-quality but a mediocre television direction. The author also explores the dramaturgical features of a non-fiction produced specifically for Internet platforms, and makes predictions of future transformations in the film language. The author analyses the director's techniques and methods in the documentary movie “This is Eddie. The Tale of a Lost and Stolen Childhood” (dir. R.Super, 2020). The author analyzes the stylistic features of a movie and a TV movie, taking into account the specifics of using voice-over text, working with fact and image, ways of forming the image of the hero, and many other directorial tools. Documentary films is gradually gaining new opportunities for distribution with the help of global on-demand video streaming sites where the viewer can see documentaries. Similarly with feature series documentaries should update their language, presentation and dramaturgy at the same time. However, it is assumed that the real documentary film will again be on the periphery of mass culture, and the expected renewal of the film language will be a borrowing of the TV language of American documentaries, which is characterized by the use of dramaturgically constructed interviews instead of informative voiceover text, which is the main technique for domestic modern TV documentaries. The article compares these two TV formats.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):24-36
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Screenlife vs. Classic Cinema

Shimokhin B.


The article deals with a format of film narration known as “screenlife”. During the period of self-isolation, the screen media changed significantly, there emerged new forms and methods of communication with the viewer. The number of films, series and media projects in the form of “screenlife” has increased dramatically, making it necessary to analyze this segment of film production. Since in Russian-language literature only a few studies address this topic, the language of expressiveness of “screenlife” films remains poorly understood.
The present paper analyses the artistic novelty of “screenlife” films. The history of the format is considered in detail starting with the instructional videos for using a certain software, filmed using the ‘‘screencast’’ technology, which were popular in the early 2000s, to modern media projects. By comparing the expressive language of these projects with classical films, the innovations of “screenlife” become apparent.
Thus, for example, it is confirmed that “screenlife” films have their own diegetic space formed by the computer desktop, defining their own expressive means, such as transitions as part of the structure of minimized windows and applications in use. Such films are characterized by: the absence of actors, an ‘‘implied’’ protagonist, providing a greater degree of identification between the viewer and the character; a special production process that permits to create films at a distance and without the participation of some members of the crew; more “action freedom” for the creators, who, thanks to the “screenlife” format, can create a film using videos posted on the Internet, as well as any computer media.
Features of “screenlife” films, systematized in the article, as well as the description of their methods and expressive means, will give impetus to their theoretical understanding and in future will help the practical development of this format.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):37-44
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VR-technologies in Animation

Yarovaya N.Y.


The article analyzes animated VR-experiences created by immersing an animation director or artist in virtual reality. Computer technologies, combined with the talent and creative skills of animators, allow us to find new approaches to creating narratives in virtual reality during experiments.
When creating stories in VR-environments directors face questions about changing the principles of editing animated works, changing the limiting borders of the frame, about the lack of control over the viewer's gaze and actions, the answers to which allow the authors to come to their own stylistic decisions and find new artistic approaches to creating animated narrative.
In virtual reality, the artist controls the sensor manipulators and the functionality of a VR modeling software tool in order to create a special spectacle and enhance the viewer's experience by creating interesting compositional solutions and stylistically interesting visual images, exciting storylines. Immersing the recipient in a virtual narrative has more emotional impact than watching an animated work on screen. The immersion effect, accompanies by new sensations, is achieved by switching perceptual organs from visual images, to sound or tactile sensations, for interactive participation with the possibility of interaction with objects of animation or surrounding space.
The progress of technology and the growing number of users stimulate animators to create experiments in virtual reality. These experiments provide the basis for studying animated works created in VR and for viewing in VR, in terms of its artistic, aesthetic and emotional components, as well as its perception by the viewer.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):46-57
pages 46-57 views

Folklore Traditions of the Sverdlovsk Animation School

Tomilov Y.


Sverdlovsk (or, as it is more often called, Ural) school of animation has made a name for itself throughout the world and is gaining recognition at prominent film festivals. It is noted for the visual ingenuity, experimenting with production techniques and special twists in storylines. The plots are often based on folk traditions of national (including the Urals) and world literature. Even given the relevance of the unique experience of Ural author’s animation in Russian and internationally, the totality of authors and their works hasn’t been properly studied as yet. Films by the founders of the Urals animation school are the least investigated in the scientific literature. This article identifies specific features, traditions and tendencies in development of screen animation in the Urals in the 60s–80s of XX century. Examples of works made by the Urals animators are used to illustrate the distinctive features in author’s interpretations of folk traditions and motifs in animation. Films of that period targeted the young audience and were didactic and moralistic in nature. Simultaneously, these films contained theatrical elements stemming from folk carnival and funfair culture and were full of comedy and entertainment. On-screen pieces of work were based on tales of different nations of the USSR and also on works by P.P.Bazhov and D.N.Mamin-Sibiryak. These films were often characterized by eclectic elements, “style game” and a mixture of genres. Film characters frequently used songs, chastushki (humorous folk songs) and poems to express themselves. A voiceover was widely used. Puppet and cut out animation were the main animation techniques. During these years new generations of animation artists were already being trained at the Sverdlovsk Film Studio and they had a chance to internalize the experience and traditions of experts in the workplace. By the mid-1980-s “Ural animation school” emerged as a term in the professional sphere and has since been considered a holistic phenomenon which is worth special attention of modern researchers.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):58-67
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Media Image of the Screen as Representation of Sociocultural Reality

Volkov S.


The article touches upon issues of the common and distinctive characteristics of documentary films and popular science TV series. It concerns special aspects of representation in these two screen forms in their sociocultural context and gives the author's vision of their sociocultural and anthropological foundations. The role of media images of the TV screen and the movie screen in the modern media space is substantiated. Approaching the audio-visualization of visuals from the angle of cultural studies and philosophy, mental activities of TV and movie viewers are opposed. Epistemologically, the article traces special accents typical for the popular science genre on the TV screen and in the cinema, boosted by documentaries. The relation between form and content in the screen visualization of ideas is substantiated.
The present work touches upon issues related to the goals of creating documentary films, on the one hand, and popular science TV series, on the other. It covers the pictorial scheme of directing documentary films. Furthermore, the bases of visual representation in documentary film are presented. The complex process of creating a popular science series is considered as opposed to the versatility of this genre. The author proposes certain ideas about the productive mental activity of the viewers in terms of epistemological approach.
He resorts to polemic arguments in the discussion about the development of an objective worldview. What offers the true image of the world around us, a popular science series or a documentary? The article puts up the elements of evidence as preconditions for the conformation of media semantic images through the screen. The special aspects of visual anthropology are touched upon. The author speculates about the possible correlation between documentary filmmaking and audiovisual information in ethnographic terms. The article ends with a number of conclusions.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):70-81
pages 70-81 views


“The Devil’s Cinema”: from Jean Epstein’s Theory to Robert Eggers’ Films

Shevchenko-Rosliakova A.


The stories of The Witch (2015) and The Lighthouse (2019), made by the American director Robert Eggers, revolve around the conflict between natural landscapes and characters, mediated by the empty spaces of human dwellings.
The principles underlying the artistic representation of this conflict go back to the early sound era, when the interrelations between humans and the onscreen space changed significantly.
An emptiness while localizing the sound (the source of which was off-screen) became a threat to the character. This issue was given a lot of attention in the so called ‘Devil’s Cinema’ (Le cinèma de diable) concept developed by the French director and film theorist Jean Epstein.
Based on the critique of Eggers’ films, the author views his work in terms of Epstein’s Breton period (films he made in Brittany: Finis Terræ (1929), Mor vran (1931), L'Or des mers (1932)) and explores the relationship between the dramatic functions of space and motifs of evil within the context of his theory of photogenie.
Following Epstein, Eggers treats chaos as ideal cinematic material, and his films reconstruct the prelinguistic logic of a dream or a spell. The Witch and The Lighthouse deal with the conflict between human and non-human consciousness, with the struggle between human rationality and cinematic irrational logic.
A landscape is chaos capable of generating phantoms. A human dwelling is an attempt to build a spatially embodied narrative logic and thus protect oneself from evil. But this attempt leads to the appearance of voids through which evil penetrates into the human world. It is the human space that undergoes dramatic changes: it is disintegrating as the characters are nearing the defeat from evil and the very nature of cinema. As a result, the characters acquire a non-human identity.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):84-98
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The Price of Going out to the Movies — the History and the Contemporaneousness

Zhabskiy M., Tarasov K.A.


The price of the theater admission is viewed as one of the factors for the massness of cinema. With the use of statistical materials, the dynamics of the massness is surveyed for the past 50 years. In the USSR the practice of forming the admission prices was determined by the focus of the state on providing for the broadest massness of cinema and its economic accessibility for all of the population. Despite the decline of the attendance of many years, the selected course was staid on. Over the 18 years of waning admissions (1968–1986), the average price of the cinema ticket increased for less than 3 kopeks (27.09 kop. as compared to 24.46 kop.). The societal changes and the steering of the course toward the market in the late 1980s created an impetus for the drastic growth of the price for going out to the movies. In the 1990s this trend surged sharply under the impact of two economic process: the precipitous drop in the incomes of the main populace and the no less dramatic increase in the price of the cinema ticket. The population became divided into two categories — those solvent for cinema attendance (mostly the relatively scarce and precarious middle class) and those insolvent. From the yesteryear factor of cinema’s broadest massness the ticket price was transformed into a factor of the former’s demassization. As a contribution to it, also came the profound restructuring of the theatrical repertory and the radical dismantling of communicative conventions between the cinematography and its spectators the most evident in the escalation of entertainment violence in films. Materials of three sociological surveys of spectators are used as the basis for an analysis of their estimating the price of the cinema ticket in the past three decades, the effects of its increase on cinema attendance. The issue of the «fair» ticket price is put in some perspective. Accentuated is the importance of rational price formation as a factor of reproducing the cinema audience.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):100-118
pages 100-118 views


Convergent Audience: Research Approaches

Bakulev G.


The article discusses the problem of audience research in modern media system formed by convergence/deconvergence. Digital media technologies proliferation in home requires new approaches to study the uses of multiple media devices depending on different social contexts and situations. The conceptual divide between two traditional methods of audience study — qualitative and quantitive — does not allow to paint the correct picture of users’ media contacts and behavior in a new media environment. The members of the convergent audience continue watching TV, but at the same time they download video, use streaming services, look for content in the net, share their material with others and even remix and remake content. It is noted that considering all current media transformation audience research should be shifted to analysis of individual media practices of users who form their personal “media repertoire’’ / “media ensemble” out of contacts with different media technologies, platforms, genres and types of content. In conclusion it is underlined that new models of production, distribution and consumption challenge not only traditional business-models and media system but also existing conceptions of audience. Researchers should not take for granted the audience issues in media discussions but search for new approaches to adapt to the current media situation. 

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):120-127
pages 120-127 views


Free Citation: Limits and Opportunities

Zvegintseva E.


The problem of legal protection of scientific, literary and artistic production is particularly acute at the present moment, in the era of rapid development of technologies that make it possible to reproduce and distribute any object with extraordinary ease. It is important to remember, however, that copyright, while protecting the interests of the owners of the products of creative human activities, allows for exceptions to the general rules. Notably, these include citing from legally published works for scientific, polemical, critical, informational, and educational purposes in order to reveal a creative intention with reference to the source and the author. Yet, the practical application of the rule on free citation often causes difficulties, since the Civil Code of the Russian Federation lacks both the definition of “citation” and the procedure for its correct execution.
Free use without the author’s consent and payment of remuneration is allowed only with the simultaneous observance of a number of restrictions: the work should be used only for the purposes listed by the law with the obligatory indication of the author and the source of borrowing, besides, the use is possible only to the extent justified by the purpose of citing. Significant difficulties in this regard are caused by the posting of photos, for example, from social networks, Instagram, whose authors, as well as the conditions for the use of their works by the account’s owner, are often unknown. Determining the correct volume also causes certain difficulties. Legitimate citation is a common case of free use of copyright objects and includes various works that exist not only in the text format. With photographs and works of fine art, the situation is somewhat more complicated, as fragments of such works can be used both as quotations and illustrations.
At the same time, correct and lawful approaches need to be specified both by the legislator and judicial practice.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):130-139
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Presentation of the authors

Editorial office a.


A brief presentation of the authors and the content of the articles in the issue

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):152-157
pages 152-157 views


Recommendations to authors

Editorial office a.
Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2021;13(1):158-160
pages 158-160 views

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