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Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Arina Permiakova
"Julian the Apostate" by Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Early Russian Cinema
Philology
(Bachelor’s programme)
8
2018
The novel by Dmitry Merezhkovsky «The Death of the Gods. Julian the Apostate» is the first novel of the trilogy «Christ and Antichrist». In the novel Merezhkovsky managed to create an image of the Roman Empire of the IV century, paying special attention to different ancient and pagan motives. Perhaps, close interlacing of these motifs attracted the attention of the director Vladimir Kasyanov, and in 1916 he shot the film «The Death of the Gods» based on Merezhkovsky's novel. The film was characterized by a large staging scale and caused controversial critic responses. However, there are no detailed studies devoted to the analysis of the novel in the context of early Russian Cinema. Moreover, Kasyanov's film has not been preserved, but thanks to the materials provided by the granddaughter of director Polina Kasyanova, we can reconstruct the idea of the picture, and also by comparing the novel, the script and the libretto, it is possible to understand how the director interpreted the novel. Thus, in our work, a screen version of Merezhkovsky's novel is analyzed on the basis of comparing the text of the novel with the materials provided to us.

Studying the screenplay, the outline, preserved frames and sketches from the materials provided, we came to the conclusion that the creators of the picture made a great attitude towards innovation and breakthrough. Hence a large number of mass scenes and courage in choosing episodes. According to critical reviews in the press, the director managed to avoid a complete imitation of popular Italian films on historical subjects. Despite the fact that Kasyanov clearly simplifies the complex structure of the novel, thereby transforming the main idea of «Julian the Apostate», the director still tried to transfer the «soul» of the work as accurately as possible.

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