The Museum of Russian Art to Sponsor Russian Film Series at the Heights Theater, Oct. 18-Nov. 8

Series shown in conjunction with current exhibition, “Raising the Banner: The Art of Geli Korzhev

MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 25, 2007) – The Museum of Russian Art (TMORA) today announces the presentation of a Russian and Soviet Era film series at The Heights Theater in Columbia Heights, Minn. The series, with screenings every Thursday, Oct. 18 through Nov. 8, compliments “Raising the Banner: The Art of Geli Korzhev,” TMORA’s landmark exhibition currently on display.

“This new series presents an exciting programming opportunity for TMORA and provides the public a unique glimpse into Russian filmmaking with works rarely seen in the United States,” said Judi Dutcher, TMORA Director and President. “Geli Korzhev acknowledged the direct influence of cinema in his work and we hope these films prove similarly inspiring for our guests.”

This inaugural series features a selection of Russian and Soviet films from the Khrushchev era to the present, a time span that coincides with Korzhev’s career. The films will be screened at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. in their original 35mm format with english subtitles. General admission is $8.00. TMORA members pay $5.00. The Heights Theater, a beautifully restored Twin Cities cinematic theater, is located at 3951 Central Ave. NE in Columbia Heights.

Thursday, Oct. 18: “Don Quixote” (1957) – As Korzhev offered his own artistic take on the Spanish legend with a series of arresting paintings, Grigori Kozintsev, a veteran Soviet film director, offers his take in this celebrated adaptation.

Thursday, Oct. 25: “Night Watch” (2004) – An enormous box-office hit and cultural phenomenon in Russia, this story of supernatural beings eternally divided between good and evil offers state-of-the-art special effects and a stimulating blend of science fiction, action and horror genres.

Thursday, Nov. 1: “Cranes Are Flying” (1957) – This is the heart wrenching story of lovers Veronica and Boris who are separated by the chaos and carnage of World War II. The film’s freewheeling style anticipates the French New Wave, and shatters stereotypes of didactic Soviet art.

Thursday, Nov. 8: ”The Return” (2003) – Part fable, part mystery and part family drama, the film’s “return” is that of an enigmatic father who takes his two adolescent sons on a road trip into the vast Russian countryside for reasons that are unclear and toward a destination unknown.

In addition, TMORA will also present two seminars on topics in Russian cinema hosted and facilitated by volunteer curator and TMORA docent Mike Bailey. Bailey holds a B.S. in Film Studies from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Film Studies from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis on Cold War cinema. Seminars are free to the public and will be presented on-site at TMORA.

Saturday, Oct. 27, 2 p.m.: “Italian Neorealism and Korzhev’s Populist Aesthetic” – Korzhev has cited the postwar films of Italy as an influence on his generation of Russian artists. This seminar will provide an overview of Italy’s premier film movement, its emphasis on the sorrows and joys of ordinary people, and its extension both into Korzhev’s painting and the Soviet cinema of the Khrushchev period.

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.: “Rupture: Dark Fantasy and Dissolution in Post-Soviet Cinema” – The bleak nature of Korzhev’s later work finds its complement in Russian cinema of the 1980s to the present. Under Gorbachev’s glasnost policy, Soviet filmmakers exercised new freedoms to criticize and reflect on the nation’s history. This trend continued through the 1990s and early 2000s as film artists experimented with genre and allegory to make sense of their new post-Soviet circumstances, simultaneously diminished and expanded.

On display through Jan. 5, 2008, “Raising the Banner: The Art of Geli Korzhev” includes 61 paintings spanning Korzhev’s remarkable career, and marks the first and only complete showing of these works outside of Russia. Russian art historians recognize Korzhev among those who substantially influenced the entire post-WWII generation of Russian realist artists.


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