Cancelled: Sergei Kapterev on Soviet Sci-Fi Cinema of the 1950s–1960s and America

Talk, in English, Paul-Desmarais Theater, 5 March 2020, 6:30pm

Regrettably, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel this lecture. However, we hope to reschedule, so please stay tuned.

The era of the space race between the USSR and the United States, the 1950s–1960s is also considered the golden age of science fiction. Americans were interested in Soviet sci-fi achievements: Walt Disney’s visions of space travel and Roger Corman’s adaptations of Soviet science fiction and fantasy films for the American market could be compared to Pavel Klushantsev’s popular-science film Road to the Stars (1957) and his science fiction masterpiece Planet of the Storms (1962). Other key works of the period, like Aleksandr Kozyr and Mikhail Karyukov’s The Heavens Call (1959), Viktor Morgenstern’s I Was a Satellite of the Sun (1959), Mikhail Karyukov and Otar Koberidze’s A Dream Come True (1963), and Aleksei Yerin’s The Flight to Thousands of Suns (1963), reveal images of the Soviet future made during Nikita Khrushchev’s drive toward communist utopia.

This lecture is part of Search for a new New World. The more frustrated you are on earth, the more you hope for in space. Moving beyond the terrestrial focus of the exhibition Building a new New World, four case studies from before the revolution to the space race look to Russian sci fi to probe individual hopes and ideas about new societal organization. Inherently experimental, sci-fi stories and films could reflect on what was and wasn’t possible in Russian reality and think beyond it.

Sergei Kapterev is Senior Researcher at the Moscow Research Institute of Film Art and an expert on Soviet cinema of the 1930s–1950s and Soviet-American collaboration during this period. He is the author of Post-Stalinist Cinema and the Russian Intelligentsia, 1953-1960: Strategies of Self-Representation, De-Stalinization, and the National Cultural Tradition (2008).

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