Youth on the March! The Rise of the Soviet New Wave

Youth on the March! The Rise of the Soviet New Wave

Youth on the March! The Rise of the Soviet New Wave – a film season in collaboration with MUBI, the UK’s leading online film streaming platform, showcases the Soviet New Wave’s most exhilarating films at Regent Street Cinema from May to June 2018.

Tracing the clash of generations from the Thaw to Perestroika, Youth on the March! The Rise of the Soviet New Wave, is a film season collaboration with our friends at Regent Street Cinema and MUBI. Curated by renowned film critic and journalist Konstantin Shavlovsky, the season moves from last minute rebellion in Otar Iosseliani’s gentle classic Falling Leaves (1966) to punk contempt in Little Vera (1988) as a new generation of Soviet directors break free to shock, satirise and play. 

Unlike the classic films of the French New Wave, these films are still unknown outside of Russia. Most will be shown for the first time in the UK, certainly for the first time on their original formats.


Titles and screenings:

2 May – Falling Leaves (1966) by Otar Iosseliani

This Georgian debut by Otar Iosseliani follows Nico, an idealistic young worker who begins work at a state-run wine collective only to struggle with the immoral way the factory is run.  Falling Leaves is a complex meditation on factory life, disappearing rural traditions and Georgian history.

9 May – We’ll Live Til Monday (1968) by Stanislav Rostotsky

A bittersweet comedy following the struggle of a high school history teacher who must choose between his head and his heart: will he abide by the strict rules of the school or give in to his natural warmth of feeling towards his students and beautiful fellow teacher, Natalya?

17 May – Long Goodbye (1971) by Kira Muratova

A little-known masterpiece by Ukrainian filmmaker Kira Muratova, this is the story of a mother’s overbearing love for her son. 

22 May – Woodpeckers Don’t Get Headaches (1975) by Dinara Asanova

Young boy Mukha longs to be taken seriously as an adult and a rock musician. When he falls in love one summer, he begins to hear music everywhere, from the rain to the woodpecker’s rattle.

30 May – Courier (1986) by Karin Shakhnazarov

Russia’s equivalent of the Breakfast Club, this witty comedy follows teenager Ivan as he rebels against tradition and expectation, surrounded by the exciting new world of Western influence: Adidas, skate-culture, breakdancing and pop music.

6 June – Is It Easy to be Young (1987) by Juris Podnieks

Podnieks’ ground-breaking documentary is a portrait of rebellious teenagers growing up under Communist rule in Latvia – thought of as one of the most controversial films of its era.

13 June – Assa (1987) by Sergei Solovev

The film that brought Russian rock music from the underground into the mainstream, this cult crime classic tells a tale of jealousy and violence between a young nurse, her lover – the head of a criminal gang, and an eccentric young musician.

20 June – The Needle (1988)by Rashid Nugmanov

Part Pulp Fiction, part Betty Blue, Naugmanov’s film charts the attempt of enigmatic drifter, Moro, who returns to Almaty to find his ex girlfriend stuck in the underground world of the drugs, mafia and violence.

27 June – Little Vera (1988) by Vasili Pichul

The film that shocked Soviet audiences with on-screen nudity for the first time, Little Vera is the portrait of a feisty, mean-minded hellcat who injects chaos into her dull provincial town.

Konstantin Shavlovsky

Konstantin Shavlovsky

Curator and Producer

Konstantin is Film Editor of the weekly publication, Kommersant Weekend. He has realized a number of interdisciplinary projects including “House of Voices” in the Museum of Moscow, “Alexey Balabanov. Crossroads” in the Centre for Art and Music, Em. V. Mayakovsky,. He is the Founder of the cultural and educational platform “Order of words.” He is also Deputy Head of the Cinema section of the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum and a member of the Board of the Guild of Film Experts and Russian film critics.

Nevaland St Petersburg on Film
Nevaland: St Petersburg on Film

Nevaland: St Petersburg on Film

Russia’s pre-1917 capital, St Petersburg, has always housed a vigorous and individual tradition of film-making which has often been over-looked in comparison to Moscow. The program, Nevaland, curated by renowned cultural and film historian, Professor Catriona Kelly, of Oxford University, will examine that tradition to celebrate the centenary of Soviet Russia’s first film Compression, the role of the city’s studio Lenfilm, and the century long legacy of Russia’s most imaginative city. 

2018 marks the centenary of the first ever Soviet film, Compression [Uplotnenie], produced in Petrograd in the first months of the new country’s existence. A movie about the upheavals of city life as the ‘former people’ of the old social elite were forced to share their homes with often unwelcome tenants from the city’s working class, Compression was also the first imaginative representation of the ‘city on the Neva’ in Soviet film. Moscow is traditionally seen as the centre of the commercial film industry in Russia, dominating press coverage and film festivals and swallowing the lion’s share of political patronage and state funding. The proposed exhibition, to be held during the St Petersburg Cultural Forum in November 2018, is intended to introduce a Russian and international public to the remarkable and largely forgotten tradition of films made in and about what Joseph Brodsky called ‘the renamed city’.

It will be an immersive journey into the exceptionally rich cultural and artistic traditions of Petrograd-Leningrad-St Petersburg, to the links between cinema and the other arts – photography, graphic arts, literature, painting. But it will also act as a voyage into the city’s history, its battle with survival during the Civil War (1918-1921) and particularly the Blockade (1941-1944), and the flowering of creativity at different periods under duress. St Petersburg’s cinematic tradition enriched and drew upon a remarkable artistic culture embracing, among many other elements, the poetry of Anna Akhmatova and Joseph Brodsky, the prose of Daniil Kharms and Mikhail Zoshchenko, the music of Shostakovich, the graphic art of Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva, and the city’s pared-down, cerebral school of modern architecture, exemplified by Evgeny Levinson and Igor Fomin’s First Residential House of Lensovet (1931-1934).

While not all the works of art and literature to be cited are by locals (the way in which people not born in the city have grown to love and celebrate it is part of the story), emphasis will be placed on how this ‘renamed city’ has itself shaped responses. At the same time, it has remained in some respects intangible – hence the punning title, ‘Neva Land’, which points to the gap between reality and imagination as well as suggesting the ways in which they, like river and city, share a common existence. 

Curated by renowned cultural and film historian, Professor Catriona Kelly of Oxford University, Nevaland will celebrate the centenary of Soviet Russia’s first film Compression in 2018 by developing a programme of events to analyse the identity of the city of St Petersburg on film and the impact of film on the city.

This programme is being developed in collaboration with the cinema section of St Petersburg Cultural Forum.

Catriona Kelly

Catriona Kelly

Professor Kelly studies Russian literature and Russian cultural history, particularly Russian modernism, gender history, the history of childhood, national identity, and the recent history of Leningrad/St Petersburg. She has published a large number of books and articles in these areas. She also works as a literary translator, and writes for the general literary press (particularly The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement). In 2013, she was pre-elected President of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, USA (ASEEES) for 2015, the first person not working at a US university to hold this position.

* The following dates are approximate and can be subject to change.

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