Bohdan’s Happiness

Bohdan’s Happiness

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June 26, 2016 / 5.30 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

Historically, especially since the 19th century, literature and the arts in East-Central Europe have been politicized to a greater extent than elsewhere. Such political and ideological engagement of the arts resulted from the rise of nationalist ideologies among the many ethnic groups that were confined to a stateless existence within the Russian, Habsburg, and Ottoman empires. In Russia, a strong authoritarian government implemented strict controls over the printed media, pushing political debates into the realm of belles-lettres, and thus transforming literature into a political battle ground. The politicization of all the arts accelerated even more after the Bolshevik victory in 1917. Lenin’s pronouncement about cinema being "the most important of all arts" brought a renewed focus to the political potential of the then relatively new visual medium.

The issue of documentary cinema’s political engagement reaches a new level with some of the filmmakers involved in Babylon ’13. This project has brought together a group of over 140 filmmakers who became engaged in documenting events taking place in Ukraine since 2013. In a sub-project of Babylon ’13, a group of filmmakers and actors travelled to Mykolaivka, a town in South-Eastern Ukraine, to work with children on film and art projects that would help them deal with feelings of hostility and anger related to the war that was raging around them. The filmmakers became involved in a physical rebuilding of a school, as well as in working with its students. Through the "New Donbass" project, the documentary filmmaker Larisa Artiugina has demonstrated how documentary filmmaking can be transformed into a tool of constructive social engagement.

Please join us for a meeting with Larysa Artiugina, in conversation with Marci Shore (Yale University) and Izabela Kalinowska (Stony Brook University). The discussion will focus on the many ways of visually documenting the events that have been taking place in Ukraine since the Maidan. It will be preceded by a screening of Artiugina’s documentary "Bohdan’s Happiness".

Larysa Artiugina

is a documentary filmmaker, and member of the Union of Cinematographers of Ukraine. She holds a degree in physics, and is also a graduate of the Kyiv National University in Theater, Film, and Television, where she is currently a professor. She has been active in many areas of the media since 1993. Among her many credits, the short film"Yellow Flower for Monsieur Bourillon" was screened at the 2013 Cannes film festival.  She is the founder of "New Donbass," an NGO whose mission is to assist residents of small liberated Donbass towns to restore social and educational infrastructure and to build up a peaceful life.

Marci Shore

is associate professor of history at Yale University.  She is the translator of Michał Głowiński's The Black Seasons and the author of Caviar and Ashes: A Warsaw Generation's Life and Death in Marxism, 1918-1968 and The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe.  Currently she is finishing a manuscript titled ‘It was My Choice’: Reflections on the Revolution in Ukraine (forthcoming, Yale University Press); she is also at work on a longer book project titled "Phenomenological Encounters: Scenes from Central Europe." Her recent essays include "Surreal Love in Prague" (TLS);  "Out of the Desert: A Heidegger for Poland" (TLS); "Rescuing the Yiddish Ukraine (New York Review of Books); "Rachelka’s Tablecloth: Poles and Jews, Intimacy and Fragility ‘on the Periphery of the Holocaust,’" (Tr@nsit Online); "Can We See Ideas?  On Evocation, Experience, and Empathy" (Modern European Intellectual History); "Entscheidung am Majdan: Eine Phänomenologie der Ukrainischen Revolution," (Lettre International); and "Reading Tony Judt in Wartime Ukraine," The New Yorker:  http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/reading-tony-judt-in-wartime-ukraine

Izabela Kalinowska

is associate professor in the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory at Stony Brook University. She works in the areas of Polish and Russian literatures and cinemas. She is the author of, among others, numerous articles dealing with issues of gender and nation in Polish and Russian cinema, including "From Orientalism to Surrealism: Wojciech Has interprets Jan Potocki." Studies in Eastern European Cinema (Volume 4, nr 1, 47-62. 2013), "Russian Heritage Cinema and the Polish Question." Universals and Contrasts: The Journal of the NY –St. Petersburg Institute of Linguistics, Cognition and Culture.  65-81. 2012. "Mothers and Lovers: Melodramatic Dimension of Polish-Soviet Friendship" Historyka XLI, Spring 2012:53-63," Poland-Russia. Coproductions, Collaborations, Exchanges," in Polish Cinema in a Transnational Context, Ewa Mazierska and Michael Goddard, editors. University of Rochester Press: Rochester, 2014. 134-152, "Khmelnytsky in Motion: The Case of Soviet, Polish, and Ukrainian Film." Co-authored with Marta Kondratyuk. Stories of Khmelnytsky, edited by Amelia Glaser (Stanford University Press, 2015).