Vol 8, No 3, 2016


Convocation. Freshies' Day

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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):6-6
pages 6-6 views


Soviet Puppet Cinema of the 1930s: from Avant-Garde to Mainstream

Sputnitskaya N.Y.


Evaluation of Russian animated cartoons of the 1930s wasn’t positive for a long time; historians of cinema, directors, artists marked this period as the era of hard times, as «formalism» and «imitation Disney's esthetics». However the films considered in the article have played a significant role in development of world cinema. Particularly they have influenced upon moulding of the Czech, Polish and Ukrainian stop motion animation of the post-war years. Unfortunately, some works released in the Union of puppet animation at Mosfilm studios under the leadership of A.L. Ptushko have been lost, and nowadays it is impossible to establish precisely their actual released number. In the article the experimental animation films of the second half of the 1930s which have remained on film and also in the form of editorial scripts (RGALI, “Mosfilm”, “Gosfilmofond”) are being analyzed. It should be noted/ that five films of the group shot with P. Mershin's method are restored (method of time-lapse reconstruction) by N. Mayorov and V. Kotovsky (on the remained color negatives) in the 2010s. So it is possible now to estimate innovation and originality of these films, and to define a role of school of the Soviet animation in development of the world stop motion. Special attention is drawn to the socio-cultural context accentuating peculiarities of reading the films, which formed their imagery and on specific reflection of a “defence discourse” in the Soviet animation of 1935-41s.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):8-18
pages 8-18 views

Development of the Animated Poster in the First Half of the XX century

Krivulya N.G.


The genre of animated posters emerged at the dawn of animation. In 1899, A. Cooper an English director created one of the first movie-posters in the history of world animation. The need for movie-posters with propaganda characteristics arose during the period of the WW1. During that time, the genre of the animated poster had been developed and had even become a stimulus to the development of the animation and film industry. It had achieved its greatest success in the UK due to the advanced level of printed graphics, as well as the fact that the British pioneered the development of systematic promotion approaches. German animators also worked in the genre of animated posters, but they filmed mostly instructional movies which presented technical or military information in a clear and simple form. By the end of the WW1 the structure of movie posters had evolved from transparent to narrative. During the war the genre of the animated poster was not developed in Russia. After the war, propaganda film-posters disappeared from the screens. Their place was taken by mostly political, educational and promotional posters. The time of experimentation with figurative language, technology, and structure of the animated poster was in 1920-1930s. Themes, targets and the form of presentation had changed, but the function remained the same - informational and visual propaganda. As the commercial poster had developed predominantly in European and American animation, the release of political posters initiated the development of Soviet animation. Sentiment changes in global politics and the situation in Europe during the late 1930s which evolved into the WW2, once again stimulated the entertainers interest for the genres of political-propaganda, patriotic, and instructive posters. During the war the production of animated posters formed a considerable portion of all the animation filmed in Soviet as well as American studios. With the cessation of hostilities films in the poster animation genre almost disappeared from the screens.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):19-33
pages 19-33 views


Documentaries, 21st Century: Time to Sum Up

Poznin V.F.


During the last fifteen years in the Russian documentaries dominated creative trend characterized by passionless, objectivist fixing of reality, mainly the negative sides of it. Today, the so-called actual cinema is under crisis, and that determines the relevance of the study summing up some of the processes that have taken place in the Russian documentary cinema in the late 20th-early 21st century. The author examines the causes of uprise and development of the objectivist, naturalistic approach to the fixing of reality and showing the negative aspects of it in Russian documentaries. The primary reason for this phenomenon is connected with the changes in the social system of the country, which has led to the loss of ethical and aesthetic guidelines. The critical perception of reality in a number of contemporary documentaries is the antithesis to the Soviet documentaries with its trend to show predominantly positive aspects of life. As for the rejection of contemporary realities, it can be explained by the desire of film directors to distance themselves from the glamorous approach in the interpretation of reality customary a contemporary TV. And finally, there was the purely practical reason, namely poor theatre and TV distribution that forced the filmmakers to focus on the festival jury and film critics supporting this orientation. Another problem of contemporary Russian documentary lies in the fact of the elimination of the state documentary studios that has led to a general fall of professionalism in this field. The availability of digital video which appeared at this time and easiness of shooting and editing technology allowed to create documentaries by those who could not tell an interesting documentary story. The result of this process is a decline of spectators’ interest towards documentaries. It can be predicted that the development of new forms of financing documentaries and promoting them to the viewer, will significantly change the aesthetic content of Russian documentary films and return the interest of the audience to this kind of cinema.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):36-46
pages 36-46 views


Kaleidoscope Aesthetics in Visual Media

Romakina M.A.


The author analyzes the special type of imagery, that is kaleidoscopic image, and investigates its evolution in photography, video and multimedia from the first vortograph (photo, taken through the prism of the mirrored glasses in 1917 by Alvin Langdon Coburn) until nowdays. The author combines empirical methods with the theoretical analysis. For the first time in the humanitarian historiography a huge package of kaleidoscopic photos, video and multimedia images was collected and systematized. The collection includes works of several dozens artists, some of them interviewed by the author of the research. As a result the author proposes the classification based on the subject regimentation: the entire aggregation of the assembled materials is divided into three main groups - the human body, the nature objects, the architecture. The images in each group are analyzed with respect to their structural features, composition and semantics, creation technology. Two structural features were singled out as unifying for all three groups: ambivalent character of the kaleidoscopic image as a symmetrically organized chaos, as well as a trend to transform a realistic recognizable subject into an abstract pattern. Kaleidoskoping is considered to be of the form generated mechanisms not only in the visual arts, but also in practice-oriented areas: design and graphic design, textile industry and fashion, ceramics, glass industry, etc.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):48-56
pages 48-56 views


A. Sokurov’s “The Lonely Voice of Man” in the Context of Russian Cosmism

Vinogradov V.V.


The article is devoted to the first collaborative work of the director Alexander Sokurov and the scripwriter Yury Arabov The Lonely Voice of Man, based on A. Platonov’s works. The everlasting value of the picture is expressed through a number of concepts and images, identified by the author, which will later become his central ideas and further develop in Sokurov's films. The author analyses the imagery system of the film, its major concepts in the context of artistic-philosophical system of Platonov and N. Fyodorov's “philosophy of the common task”, addresses the main and essential biblical allusions implicated in the film. First and foremost, the main character Nikita Firsov is associated with the images of the prodigal son and Jesus Christ: love without any body contact, break with the father (earthly), Nikita's departure which reminds of Christ's withdrawal to the desert, return of Nikita associated with the arrival of Christ in Galilee, unique resurrection from the dead, etc. The research is based upon the concept of “substance of existence” - the central idea of philosophy of Russian cosmism and Platonov's artistic-philosophical system (greatly influenced by the ideas of N.Fyodorov). In the context of A. Sokurov's creative work the author pinpoints the issue of the filial love, as a necessary condition to achieve unity and harmony that became the basis for philosophical explorations of N. Fyodorov and philosophical-imagery system of A. Platonov. The author also juxtaposes A.Sokurov and A.Tarkovsky in their ways of depicting historical (narrative) time. A.Tarkovsky defines this category via motive of unity of a person with the world resulting in disappearance of the notion of the past (in accordance with the Fyodorov's vector of mankind’s movement). A. Sokurov like A. Platonov expresses this historicism through entropy. For A. Tarkovsky it is a cutoff, eternity and homogeneity (an absolute substance of life), for A. Sokurov (as well as for A. Platonov) it is a movement and versatility.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):58-71
pages 58-71 views

The Problem of Artistic Form and the Objectives of Fine Arts Pedagogy

Sveshnikov A.V.


The widespread tendencies in art to focus on the expression of subjective attitude to an event rather than on accurate depiction of an object have led to an increasingly strong opinion that basic academic literacy has lost its former practicality. Art pedagogy theory often treats the classical and modern education methods as the opposites. Traditional education is claimed to be incompatible with the resolution of modern creative questions, and the instruction methods of the past are seen as outdated and unnecessary. Such contrasting of “the old and the new” fails to consider the existence of a common pillar, of the main illustrative and interpretative objective, which is instrumental in providing the artistic meaningfulness equally to object-based or object-less art forms. The need to establish a necessary common ground, to resolve that universal fundamental problem at the very beginning of any educational journey, becomes therefore overlooked. This author’s argument for the importance of treating such a common objective as a pedagogic cornerstone is based on selected conceptual themes from the works of A. Hildebrand and G. Wölfflin, two classics of art criticism. It is hereby attempted to demonstrate the existence of certain fundamental principles, indispensable for any of the pedagogic schools. In particular, A. Hildebrand pointed out the importance of the “distance seeing”, which reveals the necessary general identifying impression given by an event or an object, leading to seeing them as a whole, uniting all the separate parts of their image. Classical academic and contemporary schools, in relation to this global ability, differ only in their means of expression, and the argument between them appears to have no ground. Such conclusions are in agreement with the stand of G. Wölfflin, a distinguished art historian and critic. In his studies of the historic development of art form from objective clarity to subjective relative clarity of the objective sphere, he showed that we are dealing here with methodological variations rather than with different views on the core pedagogical values. Different schools of art, and both modern and traditional approaches to art education have therefore a common ground: forming of holistic vision in the student. It is important to keep in mind that, depending on their type of artistic thinking, some students would be able to better reach this goal within the framework of the academic school, and others, on the contrary, while mastering modern forms of art.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):72-82
pages 72-82 views


The Influence of the Painting Tradition on Derek Jarman’s Films

Denisova I.V.


The article aims at revealing intertextual references to paintings woven into feature films by the British director Derek Jarman (1942-1994). The author explores various manifestations of intertextuality from direct citations to reminiscences, which allow to emphasize the continuity of film-director’s work, the connection of its aesthetics, composition, film mood with the original fine art source paintings. The target is to enhance the emotional impact on the viewer. The concept of “intertextuality” has undergone significant changes since its introduction to the research usage by the poststructuralist French theorist Julia Kristeva. This term has gone beyond the literary discourse and has begun to be used in the analysis of all the semiotic formations to describe the interaction of both verbal and non-verbal texts. In this regard, it is important to analyze and reveal the intertextual references to paintings woven into feature films made by a British director Derek Jarman whose works are insufficiently explored in Russia. Intertextuality is a characteristic feature of Jarman’s creative style that seeks to blur the clear distinction between painting and cinema. Analysing the influence of such artists as Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Piero della Francesca, William Turner, Ford Madox Brown, Thomas Eakins and Francis Bacon on Jarman, the author reveals the interconnection between the director’s aesthetics, composition, mood, light and shade frame modeling and the original paintings. Derek Jarman uses a variety of intertextual references from direct citations to reminiscences affecting the visual associative row of the audience and their film perception, emphasizing the continuity of his work. The intertextual references seek to enhance the emotional impact on the viewers, to recreate the mood of the epoch and its atmosphere, to aggravate the tragedy of the situation. The metaphors and allusions greatly expand the spatial and temporal characteristics of Jarman’s films. Numerous intertransitions from one semiotic system to another fill his films with inner dialogue and strengthen semantic polyphony of meaning.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):84-94
pages 84-94 views

Specifics of Imaginative Approach in the US Documentary of 1960-2000s

Kazyutchits M.F.


The subject of this article is a survey of artistic techniques of the American documentary filmmaker F. Waisman. The object is the US documentary of the 1960-2000s. The author attempts to distinguish the specifics of the Waisman’s imaginative approach, exploring the director’s work as a developed part of so-called observation method characteristic of the films by American documentary filmmakers R. Drew and R. Leacock (the founders of the “direct cinema”). The author shows that minimalism of expressive means, the frequent use of camera travellings, raw-like cutting in the movies Titicut Follies (1967), Hospital (1970), Near death (1989) greatly complicate the understanding of the Waisman’s concept. Ambiguity of imagery in these pictures inevitably leads to a richness of connotations and surplus symbolism. High school (1968) clearly demonstrates a deep fracture of the American society in the late 60's, fully reflected in the school system. Wiseman explores the nature of executive and judicial power of the US in Law and order (1969) and The juvenile court" (1973). He tries to show the crisis of classical art within mass culture in the films National gallery (2014) and Crazy Horse (2011). Waisman’s approach allows to avoid the commonplace discourse (and the decline in the artistic level of the film) in coverage of such phenomena as the executive and the judicial power, education, arts and entertainment industry. The director was able to combine the complex and polysemantic visual design with the unique composition of the stuff (through cutting and camera work). All this helped him to unite the imaginative merits of a documentary film with narrative symbolism and traditions of poetic cinema.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):95-105
pages 95-105 views

Indian Cinema: Past and Present

Nefedova D.N.


Indian cinema is a unique, original phenomenon of world culture with a rich history and deep roots. The dawn of the era of cinema in India is referred up to 1913, when the film 'Raja Harishchandra' by J.G. Phalke was shot. Further development of cinema going in different directions in several chronologically successive stages, and the most famous center of the film industry has gradually led Bollywood in Northern India. The early cinema works are not enough accessible to study, and the first stage is clearly traced in the span of 1940-1960s, when the plot has become the basis of the social problems of the society, directly connected with striving for independence. 1970-1980s were characterized by relative imperturbation in the country and the lives of the Indians, so the results of this time became widely known in the USSR and influenced on Russian melodrama. The first Indian TV-series wore melodramatic and mythoephic nature. In 1990s the process of globalization touched upon film industry in India. As a result the films underwent substantial Europeanization, but on the other hand appealed to domestic traditions and values, performing a kind of popularization and propaganda. There is a fully manifested characteristic of the Indian film industry mixture of genres called "masala". In 2000s the line of reasonable combination of modern trends with traditional culture and national originality of cinema went on. Currently, the Indian film industry continues to develop. Conservative technology combined with modern technical equipment are actively used in the shooting process and in the cinematic action. However despite this the cinema of India is a vivid example of conservation of the unique national art in a world cultural unification process.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):106-114
pages 106-114 views

A Criminal as the Main Movie Character, or Old Themes and New Solutions

Zvegintseva I.A.


The former British colony, emerged as a place of exile for the most dangerous criminals and unreliable people from the metropolis, Australia began its existence very unenviable, appearing on the world map called "The Earth’s hell", which was used to frighten children in Europe. The fact is: the gene fund of the nation - the convicts, their guards, and adventurers came from all over Europe in hope of a better life. The first half of the 19th century Australia, in fact, remained a giant reforming home, a jail. And whatever paradoxical it might explain the significant number of films shot in the 20th and in 21st centuries with criminals as protagonists. When touching upon permanent plots and problems in Australian cinema, it should be noted that the "eternal" love of the inhabitants of the Green continent to the favorite national hero Ned Kelly, a former convict and burglar has not disappeared. In the minds of the Australians the burglar has become a symbol of the fighter against injustice, a sort of "Australian Robin Hood". The main characters of the movies were bushrangers in Australia called escaped convicts, pariahs of the society, hunting armed robberies and burglaries, hiding from justice in the vast valleys of the Australian Bush. Here, incidentally, there is a parallel with the American film industry that also has surpasses the rank of the most beloved and popular criminals in the country from Al Capone, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow up to Bugsy Siegel and John Dillinger. But soon such films were banned because of the monopolies of the USA and the UK movies on the Australian market. However, life itself has started to supply filmmakers with the stories that hardly could come to the minds of writers with the wildest imagination. The real horrible crimes and not less real maniacs, sadists, pedophiles, whose actions have forced to shudder the whole society, both in the past and the present, formed the basis of a number of films shot in Australia. The analysis of these movies, the authors' position, the artistic value of works have become the target of this article.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):115-125
pages 115-125 views


On The Matter of Market in Cinema

Zhabskiy M.I.


At cinema’s inception the market played the role of the midwife. Further on, market relations had been one of the fundamental framing conditions for the formation and the development of cinema as a social institution, with all its merits and demerits. It was along the pathways of the market that cinema crossed over from France to Russia. The state more suffered it rather than accepted it. Nicholas II deemed cinema «a vacuous, no-good-for-anyone, and even harmful entertainment». Of the same opinion initially was V. Lenin. But, having positioned himself at the helm of the state, he put forth the task of turning cinema into «artistic propaganda» and the most important of the arts. Commerce in cinema was subjected to an ideological and aesthetical anathema. However, market relations did not cease to exist altogether. They rather took on a rudimentary and truncated form. But even in that state, market relations came to be one of the decisive conditions for the cost-effectiveness of Soviet cinema. Since many deny it, in the article this viewpoint is overturned by an analysis of statistical materials from 1976 and 1986. It is shown that the cost-effectiveness was concealed by draconian taxation and the economically groundless expenditure on operating the exhibition network which had been built with a view of film service to the entire population, including the rural. In the late 1980s, on the initiative of the Soviet state, a turn was executed toward a legitimate socialist market. But in reality, only the first steps were made in that direction. Intervene did the demise of the state regime in the USSR. In the post-Soviet period a proper development of the market mechanism did not come to pass. Functioning primarily thanks to the state financial support, the national cinema of contemporary Russia is of a mixed sort: a public-mercantile one.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):128-140
pages 128-140 views


The Visualization as a Way of Involvement in TV Commercials

Fedotova L.N.


The problem of visualization characteristic of TV and street advertising, is utterly relevant, as the follow-up of cultural and artistic origins of any new information technology helps to present potential of the creative perception of social reality historically engendering both forms of art and their artistic palette. Visualization of goods, that is demonstration them to its customers is the first phase of the exchange, and it is only foreshadowed advertising. When production becomes ponderous, information about goods should become regular, inclusive, and possibly aggressive. A wide-scale consumer boasts of increase of the number of social needs. In the course of time exhortations system has complicated to a larger extent, and their form become more diverse. Nowadays exhortation exists as a potential conclusion after reading the text. The advertising message may consist of a simple statement of some information about the offer: but it may also show. Demonstration can promote a positive attitude to the product. The heyday of this practice we can see on TV. Due to power of its pictorial capacities it shows the world in all its beauty. It just shows the power of using the product demonstration process. And most importantly - since the image might be hiding, or it reflects the pattern of life, - even a whole philosophy of life. This is the model of any symbolization - from details to the total, from the individual to the whole universe. TV used this mechanism in such mode of advertising as the celebrities marketing. The figure of the “hero” is symbolic, consumption becomes synonymous with success, achievement. Sometimes visualization of ideas have problems with limits symbolization (the example of the TVC “Daisy”). This problem becomes more urgent nowadays because the marketing communications based on unfounded statements do not work anymore. The strength of the latter particularly manifested itself under the crisis.

Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):142-151
pages 142-151 views



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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):158-160
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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):34-34
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Vestnik VGIK I Journal of Film Arts and Film Studies. 2016;8(3):126-126
pages 126-126 views

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