Ukraine and films in the Klassiki database : the August 2022 Slavonic items of the month

Last year, Cambridge University Libraries started providing access to the Klassiki database of films from Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.  The subscription was started specifically to support courses taught under the auspices of Film Studies and/or Slavonic Studies.  In its own words: “Klassiki hosts a highly curated permanent collection of films that represent the best of classic filmmaking from the region. We also offer a brand new ‘Pick of the Week’ contemporary title, selected by the curatorial team. Each of our films are accompanied by programme notes, journal essays, newly commissioned subtitles and online interviews with the best filmmakers from the region.”

In terms of Ukraine, the Klassiki database currently has 6 films in its Ukraine section.  It did have a 7th – the documentary film Mariupolis (2016) directed by Mantas Kvedaravičius.  As readers will probably already know, that film was about the experience of Mariupolʹ under fire from Russian-backed separatists, and its director was tragically murdered there this year in March, a victim of the 2022 full-scale war.  He had been in the city to make a sequel.  The 2016 film is no longer on Klassiki, since have been able to license it to make it fully and freely available on YouTube here.  Kvedaravičius’ 2013 Cambridge PhD thesis, Knots of absence : death, dreams, and disappearances at the limits of law in the counter-terrorism zone of Chechnya, is at the Haddon Library and in the Library Storage Facility, and here is his home department’s tribute to him.

The Ukrainian films on Klassiki were made in Ukraine and chiefly by Ukrainian directors, with one in Ukrainian (and Hutsul), two silent, and three in Russian.  They include two films by Kira Muratova, two by Oleksandr Dovz︠h︡enko, one by Serhiĭ Paradz︠h︡anov (Sergei Parajanov here), and one by Marlen Khut︠s︡iev (who Cambridge was fortunate enough to host in a 2014 visit).  The films’ descriptions from Klassiki follow. Continue reading

A new film on the Cambridge caricatures of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune (1870-71)!

The digitised collection of Cambridge caricatures of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune (KF.3.9-14) is the subject of a new film featuring the University Library’s historical printing presses and produced by the Digital Content Unit.

Look out for the forthcoming exhibition on the first floor of the University Library!

It will feature satirical representations of the defeated French Emperor Napoleon III, and of the victorious German Emperor Wilhelm I and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.

Explore the collection

Irène Fabry-Tehranchi

Film in Cambridge

Part of the cinema section in the MML Library

Film is an ever popular subject, and as such it is hardly any surprise that Film Studies are flourishing. Modules and courses on film have been taught at Cambridge University since the 1970s, but with the beginning of this academic year, the Modern and Medieval Languages Faculty (MML) also offers the possibility of gaining a PhD in the subject. To reflect the offer of a PhD in Film and Screen Studies, the long-standing MPhil in Screen and Media Cultures has also been renamed to match the title of the PhD programme. In addition, the Centre for Film and Screen is also based in the MML Faculty, with John David Rhodes as its director. However, film is not exclusively taught at the MML Faculty, but for example also across programmes in English, Architecture and Art History. As a consequence, several Faculty libraries as well as College libraries actively collect films, while the main University Library itself does not.

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