Soviet and Post-Soviet Movie Club at the Polonsky Academy
Spring Semester 2019
Of Utopias and Dystopias:
Ten Russian Science Fiction Movies from the 1920s to the Present
By invitation only
If you would like to join the Movie Club, please
contact Dr. Pavel Vasilyev at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hard to Be a God | 2013 | Aleksei German | 177 minutes
A group of thirty scientists travel from Earth to a nearly identical alien planet that is culturally and technologically centuries behind. The inhabitants of this planet have brutally suppressed a Renaissance-like movement, murdering anybody they consider an intellectual, and thus the planet is stuck in the Middle Ages. Filming began in 2000 and continued on-and-off for a period of thirteen years, and the movie was completed only after the director’s death.
The pursuit of a technological utopia occupied an important, perhaps even central, space in the Soviet political and ideological imaginary. An epitome of high modernity itself, the Soviet Union pioneered and advanced technocratic solutions in many domains, including Arctic exploration, the nuclear arms race, and the conquest of outer space. This semester, the Soviet and Post-Soviet Club at the Polonsky Academy revisits Russian science fiction movies made between the 1920s and 2010s to explore how they reflected specifically local ideological preoccupations about the future and at the same time posed important ethical questions about the role of technology in the society that are still of great relevance and general interest in our world today.
The screenings will take place at the Polonsky Auditorium on Mondays at 18:00, starting with a brief introduction by Dr. Pavel Vasilyev. All movies will be screened in the Russian original with English subtitles. After each screening, there will be an opportunity for informal discussion.