Animated Visions: Allegories of Resistance

Animated Visions:
Allegories of Resistance
Spring 2006

Ruth Hayes (coordinator)
Com 358, x6890,
Pat Krafcik, Sem II, A2110, x6491
Leonard Schwartz, Com 360, x5412


An apple struggles to fall from a tree, desiring to experience gravity, even if it means death. A man must navigate through endless bureaucratic channels in order to recover his nose, which has assumed a life of its own. People enter and exit an apartment house in every way they can, except the front door. We come upon these strange and seemingly nonsensical images while viewing or reading works of animation and literature from Russia and East European countries that experienced Soviet domination. What do they mean?

In this program, we will explore the historical and cultural contexts of animated films and poetic and prose texts from Russia and the Soviet-bloc countries to find how, and to what extent, they express resistance to totalitarian political and social oppression. As we screen works by animators such as Jan Svankmajer, Yuri Norstein, Nina Shorina and Michaela Pavlatova, students will learn how to "read" them in light of the historical events and cultural influences their makers experienced. Readings of the poetry of Arkady Dragomoschenko, Alexei Parshchikov and Elena Shvarts, and the prose of Milan Kundera, Václav Havel and others will further inform and expand students' understanding of the uses of metaphor and allegory to express the inexpressible, to outwit censors, to reach like-minded souls and to subvert dominant ideologies

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