Eisenstein in Ferghana: Framing National Form

Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 4:30pm to 5:45pm
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CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S354

The work on The Great Ferghana Canal had a profound effect on Sergei Eisenstein the theorist. The film made him return to his earlier attempts to conceptualize a “Persian-style shot” that would convey the basic stylistic features of a Persian miniature drawing on the cinematic screen. The features that preoccupied Eisenstein in Persian art were related primarily to perspective because traditional miniaturists did not use foreshortening. The classical Persian miniature presents a system of so-called vertical perspective that displays figures as overlapping one over the other while elements of the setting, such as lakes or carpets, appear flat on the page. In his 1939 diary notes, Eisenstein indicates that he must now illustrate his theoretical elaborations: “How it ought to be {illustrations: a foray into examples of resolutions in the sphere of the plasticity of the ‘Eastern’ composition of the Uzbek material}” This novel way of (re)presenting reality, as a correspondence to established “Eastern” visual pracs, was Eisenstein’s own practical application of the inherent adaptability of formal devices with their ability to roam throughout times and places. The stylistic form of the Persian miniature, which had historical influence upon certain artistic practices found on the territory of contemporary Uzbekistan, finds its renewed life in a different media and with a different content.

Nariman Skakov holds a Master of Philosophy degree in European Literature and a Doctor of Philosphy degree in Modern and Medieval Languages from the University of Oxford. His teaching and research interests lie primarily in 20th-century Russian/Soviet/Post-Soviet literature and culture. More specifically, they include Soviet Modernism, the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky and Rustam Khamdamov, Moscow conceptualism, and artistic visions of the Soviet Orient. His first monograph, The Cinema of Tarkovsky: Labyrinths of Space and Time, was published by I. B. Tauris in 2012. His articles appeared in Slavic Review, Russian Review, Dostoevsky Studies, Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, and Новое литературное обозрение. He is currently working on a book dealing with late modernist experiments in the Soviet Union in the 1930s.


Nariman Skakov, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University

Co-sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Gochman Lecture Series, Department of Slavic Languages & Literatures.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.