Oriental dancers, ballerinas, actresses and opera singers the figure of the female performer is ubiquitous in the cinema of pre-Revolutionary Russia. From the first feature film, Romashkov’s Stenka Razin (1908), through the sophisticated melodramas of the 1910s, to Viskovsky’s The Last Tango (1918), made shortly before the pre-Revolutionary film industry was dismantled by the new Soviet government, the female performer remains central. In this groundbreaking new study, Rachel Morley argues that early Russian film-makers used the character of the female performer to explore key contemporary concerns from changing conceptions of femininity and the emergence of the so-called New Woman, to broader questions concerning gender identity. Morley also reveals that the film-makers repeatedly used this archetype of femininity to experiment with cinematic technology and develop a specific cinematic language.

The UCL SSEES Russian Cinema Research Group holds a drinks reception to celebrate the publication of Dr Rachel Morley’s monograph, Performing Femininity: Woman as Performer in Early Russian Cinema (I.B.Tauris, 2017). Julian Graffy, Professor Emeritus of Russian Literature and Cinema, will introduce the book.

Dr Rachel Morley is Lecturer in Russian Cinema and Culture at University College London. She has published widely and presented papers on Russian film. From 1999 to 2009 she taught in the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University of London, and she has also taught modules in Russian film at the University of Cambridge.

This is the 100th event organized by the Russian Cinema Research Group since its inauguration in 2002.  The event is free. Location: Masaryk Senior Common Room, UCL SSEES Please RSVP to Lilla Bettiol at l.bettiol@ucl.ac.uk.

  • Date: 08 May 2017
  • Masaryk Senior Common Room, UCL SSEES 16 Taviton Street, WC1H 0BW London, United Kingdom
  • Time: 17.30 - 19.30