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CEREES Film Screenings and Discussion

When: Monday, January 29, 2024, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Where: ArtsOne G.19 Mile End Road London E1 4PA, Mile End

Screening and discussion of 'Katia Izmailova' (Valerii Todorovskii 1994) and launch of 'A History of Russian Literature on Film'

Queen Mary University of London

Centre for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies


Screening and Discussion of Katia Izmailova (Valerii Todorovskii 1994) and launch of A History of Russian Literature on Film by Professor David Gillespie, Dr Marina Korneeva

The authors will be in conversation with Prof. Jeremy Hicks (QMUL)

Gillespie and Korneeva will situate Katiia Izmailova within the broader history of film adaptations of Russian literature set out in their recently published book. Through the example of Katiia Izmailova, Gillespie and Korneeva will also discuss the current situation and future prospects for film adaptations of Russian literature, following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the relation of the film to the role of literature in post-Soviet Russia.

The 1994 film Katia Izmailova (also known as Evenings Around Moscow) is an adaptation and updating of Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 novella Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk. The novella shows the descent into murder and suicide of Katerina Izmailova, the wife of a landowner as the catastrophic consequences of her passionate affair with the steward of the estate. A crucial point for discussion will be the enduring relevance and significance of Leskov’s original motif: young wife, older husband with property, young lover. This motif contextualizes the broader issue: the social position of women, not only in 19th century Russia, but also in other countries, as developed in their cinematic cultures. Thus, this premise has been the subject of several international films, including the Italian neo-realist Ossessione, two versions of the Hollywood noir The Postman Always Rings Twice, and the film debut of the Coen Brothers, Blood Simple. More substantially, William Oldroyd’s 2016 Lady Macbeth (UK) provides much material to expand Leskov’s narrative and interrogate themes of sexuality, class and race in Victorian (and by analogy modern) Britain. The authors will discuss how Leskov’s work resonates with subsequent cinematic (re)readings, as well with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and the play’s adaptations from Hollywood to Japan to Roman Polanski, and back again.

Professor David Gillespie and Dr Marina Korneeva have published jointly on Russian language and Russian culture, including editorship of the fourth edition of Terence Wade’s A Comprehensive Russian Grammar, published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2020, and the forthcoming A History of Russian Literature on Film, to be published by Bloomsbury Academic in early 2024. Professor Gillespie taught at the University of Bath from 1985 to 2016, and Dr Korneeva taught at Tomsk State University from 2014 to 2021.

CEREES follows the BASSEES guidelines in hosting and welcoming all speakers and participants who oppose Russia’s war on Ukraine. Anyone supporting Russia’s war, or justifying it in any way, is not welcome.

Colleagues based in Russia or Belarus will participate in a personal capacity.

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