Architecture/Urbanism/Space in Soviet and Russian Cinema

Moritz Pfeifer's picture
Call for Papers
May 15, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Russian or Soviet History / Studies

Call for Papers
Architecture/Urbanism/Space in Soviet and Russian Cinema

Proposals: May 15th 2020
Papers due: September 15th 2020

In cinema, architecture operates at the intersection of movement and meaning. Architectural structures enable and restrict the camera’s path through a scene while also framing its field of view. Simultaneously, buildings function as semiotic carriers, which deepen the potential of topography as a cinematic signifier. This interaction is explored in a pinnacle sequence of early Russian cinema: the Odessa steps scene from Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. Here, the kinetic force of the marching soldiers is intensified by the inevitable momentum with which the camera drives the civilians down the steps. It seems as if not the characters but architecture itself is the acting force in this scenario. This is further demonstrated by the baby carriage rumbling downwards unstoppably.

As part of its Russian focus 2020, the East European Film Bulletin is preparing a special issue on the topic of architecture in Russian films. We are looking for contributions that examine and analyze the diverse relationship between both mediums, which equally define Russian culture to this day.
We are particularly interested in essays concerning the following topics:

1) imperial architecture (e.g. the Hermitage Museum in Sokurov’s Russian Ark)
2) early Soviet architecture (constructivism, rationalism)
3) architecture in relations to Korenizatsiya
4) Stalinist classicism
5) futurism (in the sci-fi genre)
6) brutalism
7) ruins (see Svetlana Boym)
8) dacha films
9) landscape (in relations to national identity)
10) post-soviet architecture (post-modernism)

Proposals of 250 words should be sent to by Wednesday, May 15, 2020.

English translations for Russian scholars are possible.

Stylistic guidelines for essays published in our journal can be found here:

Contact Info: 

Moritz Pfeifer


East European Film Bulletin


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