The Pittsburgh Film Symposium, featuring recent Russian films and student short features, will be presented by the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and the Beehive at their Oakland locations from Monday through Saturday, May 1–6 2000. Attending this year's symposium will be director Vadim Abdrashitov and actor Sergei Makovetskii, two of Russia's best-known figures in cinema culture. Several of the films never before screened in the US will be premiered and discussed in the context of current post-Soviet cinema. The event will also include a May Day parade and discussions involving Russia's most renowned journalists, scholoars, and filmmakers. Films to be shown at Carnegie Museum of Art include Vadim Abdrashitov's Play for a Passenger on Wednesday May 3 at 7 pm; Aleksei Balabanov's Trofim (short film) and Sergei Ursuliak's Summer People on Thursday, May 4 at 7 pm; Vladimir Khotinenko's Makarov on Friday, may 5 at 7 pm; and Ivan Dykhovichnyi's Moscow Parade on Saturday, May 6 at 7 pm. All films will have English subtitles and will be repeated a second time later in the month.
The entire event will begin with a May Day Parade on Monday afternoon, May 1, featuring banners, floats, skits, and games in the spirit of Russia's late 1920's and early 1930's. The parade, organized to publicize the week's screenings, will be of historical interest of its recreation of workers' and pioneers' brigades, flags, political caricatures, and colorful displays of industrial achievements, imagery and performance art from one of the most fascinating periods of Russian-Soviet culture. The event will reproduce the carnival atmosphere with amateur workers' theatre. while these pageants no longer exist, such "Moscow Parades" have been transformed and repackaged into objects of parody, fetishism, and nostalgia.
The theme of this year's intellectual discussion is Nation, Fetish, Identity. Images signaling national identity in film, billboards, television, and elsewhere position themselves in a global context by way of contradictory allegiances: on the one hand, to national legacy; on the other, to broader market aspirations. A recurrent aspect of this process is the inclusion of an identifiable device—or "fetish"—that communicates nation as part of a larger cultural strategy. An investigation of this interplay is the subject of debate in the scholarly fora that will run at the Beehive (Oakland) from 10 am to 6 pm on Tuesday, May 2 through Saturday, May 6. Films to be screened in conjunction with this part of the Symposium include Aleksei Balabanov's Brother and Kira Muratova's Three Stories on Tuesday, May 2 at 10 am and 2 pm respectively; Valerii Ogorodnikov's Barracks on Wednesday, May 3 at 10 am; Lidiia Bobrova's In That Land on Thursday, May 4 at 10 am; and Otar Ioseliani's Brigands on Friday, May 5 at 10 am.
Two programs of student films will screen at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers (477 Melwood Avenue, North Oakland). The first, on Tuesday, May 2 at 7 pm, is a retrospective of student prize-winning films from Russia's St. Anna Film Festival. The second program, on Friday, May 5 at 3 pm, screens student films from the Master Class Workshops of Russia's two leading directors, Vladimir Khotininko and Aleksandr Mitta. The Russian Film Symposium offers a unique change for the public to view films and engage in cross-cultural dialogue. For anyone with an interest in Russian culture or cinema, this event provides an exciting opportunity to glimpse at the complex state of Russian culture today. All events are open to the public.