Ours/Others, Africa and Urban Indigenous Peoples: Guide to the ‘Days of Ethnographic Cinema’ Festival
Seeing life in other countries in a way that even seasoned travellers cannot see it, discussing endangered urban cultures, and understanding the reasons of nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ will be possible at the ‘Days of Ethnographic Cinema’ festival that will be held from September 24-30 by the Higher School of Economics together with the Russian State Humanitarian University and the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography. This guide covers the events worth following for specialists and curious non-specialists alike.
What this festival is about
Anthropology in the 20th century experienced a unique fate in that it had an audience. This was due to the fact that anthropologists began using photo, film and video cameras in their work. After all, it is far easier to show a shaman than to describe him in a European language, which more likely than not lacks the necessary concepts. Soon came the first public showings of footage, which were followed by dedicated anthropological film festivals.
As a rule, scholars tend to make shorter versions of their films for festivals, which usually last 20-30 minutes so that they will be of interest to non-specialist audiences.
5 days of a different reality
Event: Main film screenings programme
Audience: For anyone who wants to better understand the world around
The ‘Days of Ethnographic Cinema’ festival will show 47 films by filmmakers from countries as diverse as Russia and Peru. These filmmakers are attempting to ascertain – Who are we? Who are we among ‘our own’? Who we are among ‘others’? Where are ‘we’ and where are ‘others? Here the most unexpected stories and characters will be found - from the ‘Elleshdīrmeh’ Turkmen wedding custom to the socialization of three Colombian prisoners with the help of hip-hop, from a small family circus in Italy to Palestinians working as gravediggers at the largest cemetery in Jerusalem, from the inhabitants of a Moscow Khrushchev-era apartment block destined for demolition, to the Swiss village that refused to accept the Gregorian calendar and celebrates the New Year on January 13.
Films are grouped into thematic blocks, with a discussion planned after each block with one of the directors. All the films will be screened in their original language with English subtitles and simultaneous translation into Russian in the hall.
Time: September 24-28, daily starting at 12.00
Venue: screening room at the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (16 Ulitsa Ostozhenka). Advance registration is required.
A Look Back
Event: Lecture ‘Heritage and the Politics of History: A Comparative and Anthropological View’ by Michael Herzfeld, Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University
Audience: For anyone who wants to understand why we look for ourselves in the past
Most modern societies base their identity on the events of the past. For example, the Great Patriotic War for Russian society is an event when ‘our’ grandfathers won ‘our’ victory. The same thing happens in small social groups (e.g., minorities, diasporas, and subcultures). Each of them has its own ‘narrative of the past’ – the story of victories or defeats that they rely on now.
What are the reasons behind this ‘memorial boom’ and nostalgia for a ‘golden age’? What are the mechanisms by which such collective identity is built? These questions will be the subject of a lecture by Professor Herzfeld. The presentation will be simultaneously translated into Russian.
Time: September 26, 17.00-20.00
Venue: HSE main building at 20 Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, Room 101
If you need a pass to enter HSE building, please send your name and affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details (in Russian)
The Genius of Place
Event: Workshop ‘The Anthropology of/in Urban Life: Methods, Problems, Concepts’ by Michael Herzfeld, Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University
Audience: For students and teachers – specialists in urban studies, culture, economics, sociology, etc. In short, for all those who are interested in how the modern city and its problems can be studied.
In the centre of Rome is the Monti district, which not long ago was inhabited by people whose families had lived here for centuries - taxi drivers, shopkeepers, butchers and other people from the ‘simple’ classes. They were the guardians of its memory and history. However, the area was reconstructed and turned into an expensive and fashionable place. The shopkeepers and butchers were forced to leave because life there had become unaffordable. With them, an entire layer of urban culture disappeared. Professor Herzfeld produced a film about this called ‘Monti Moments: Men's Memories in the Heart of Rome’.
The film is about a section of Monti and is only one example of the study of urban culture that will be discussed at the workshop. The topic will cover tools for this kind research - photographs, film documents, etc. The discussion will be conducted in English and Russian.
Time: September 27, 12.00-15.00
Venue: HSE Main building at 20 Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, Room 101
If you need a pass to enter HSE building, please send your name and affiliation to email@example.com
Details (in Russian)
Event: International Colloquium ‘ Visual Studies of Africa: Memory, History, Identity ’
Audience: For specialists and the general public
One day of the festival will be dedicated to visual research in Africa – a region that on the one hand is firmly rooted in cultural and religious traditions, and on the other had has embarked on the path of modernization. At a special colloquium, the audience will watch modern documentaries about the continent and discuss African urbanization, new diasporas and ‘Africa Outside Africa.’
'La Pyramide Humaine' made by Jean Rouch in 1961 will be shown for the first time in Russia. Jean Rouch is a famous anthropologist, a pioneer of the direct cinema movement, a documentary film legend and an inspirer of the French ‘new wave.’ The movie explores the evolving relationship between two groups, the white and the black students from the same class of a lycée in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoir). Against the backdrop of a developing romantic relationship between a white girl and a black boy, the movie presents the complex and dramatic experience of overcoming the racist mindsets found in both groups and hampering communications between them.
Venue: State Historical Museum, ‘Polovetskij dvorik’ Room, Moscow, Red Square, 1. Entry is free.
In Search of Tradition
Event: International seminar on audiovisual anthropology – ‘Traditional Culture in a Post-Traditional Society: Issues of Adaptation’
Audience: Primarily experts – anthropologists and cultural studies specialists – but also interested listeners in general.
The seminar will be devoted to considering the phenomena of traditions and ‘post-traditions’ in the modern world. We recommend that non-specialists who want to listen to this discussion pay attention to the film "In the Frame – The Other’ from the main film screenings programme (it will show on September 25). This film talks about the women of the Mursi tribe in southern Ethiopia who wear lip disks and bright decorations. Their main source of income is posing in photographs for tourists. To get more money, they are beginning to dress themselves more exotically. However, by ‘exaggerating’ their traditional way of life (essentially turning it into a ‘post-tradition’ that is a consciously practiced activity) they are also provoking the collapse of their own culture.
Time: September 29-30, 11.00-19.00
Venue: HSE Main building at 20 Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, Room 101
Artificial intelligence is increasingly becoming an integral part of our life. We are now so used to its help and services that we get completely lost when we can’t connect to the internet. Could a person fall in love with AI? What will its humanisation lead to? These and other questions were discussed at this year’s LSES Christmas movie seminar, which was dedicated to Spike Jonze's film Her.
On August 21, HSE University’s Cultural Centre hosted the opening of the first ‘Pint-Sized’ student film festival. Over the next week, guests will be able to attend lectures from teachers of the HSE Film Institute and watch works by the festival participants. On August 27, at the closing ceremony, the winners of the Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Directing, and Best Cinematography categories will be announced.
This weekend VK Fest took place in Gorky Park — an open-air spectacular featuring musicians, bloggers, and speakers, as well as entertainment and educational projects for a young audience. The 2023 Festival took place in five cities: Vladivostok, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Sochi and Moscow. This is the second time VK Fest has been held in Moscow, and both times HSE University has taken part in the event.
In early April, the KARO 11 Oktyabr cinema theatre hosted an official premiere of the film Flood directed by Ivan Tverdovsky, creative head of Screen Arts at the HSE Art and Design School. The film is based on the story of the same name by Yevgeny Zamyatin.
In February 2023, the HSE University Cultural Centre hosted the festival ‘Colour of Asia: From Riyadh to Tokyo’ coordinated by the university’s Korean Club. A total of 24 student organisations took part in arranging the festival, including national, environmental, and charity clubs.
The Double Planet Theory, a film directed by fourth-year HSE Art and Design School student Savely Osadchy, is on the list of the main Short Film Competition at the Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF). The festival runs from August 26 to September 2 and features more than 230 films from 65 countries. Only two Russian films are taking part in the Short Film Competition.
Olga Pinchuk shares the personal experiences that have informed her academic research, explains why manual labour is still prevalent in Russia, and examines widespread stereotypes about blue-collar workers.
The Telling Stories festival, organised by the Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design, has come to an end at HSE University. During two days, anyone could attend open lectures, discussions, master classes, performances, concerts, exhibitions, and screenings. Experts discussed the state of creative industries and tried to outline an image of the future by understanding the main challenges, prospects, and anxieties it presents.
HSE University held a round table devoted to science documentaries. The participants discussed possible approaches to securing support for movie production and distribution, choosing topics of interest, and encouraging cinemas to show films about science.
HSE University’s Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology has held its traditional Christmas Film Seminar. This year it was dedicated to one of the most discussed films of the year — Steven Soderbergh's prophetic Contagion. A report from our news service explains how the 2011 Hollywood blockbuster managed to predict the events of 2020, which generation will be most affected by the pandemic, and why reality has become fiction.