« Medium Intimacy : The Correspondences of Chris Marker and Aleksandr Medvedkin » Conférence de Robert Bird (Universityof Chicago)

Organisateurs : Ada Ackerman, Antonio Somaini (professeur d’études cinématographiques, LIRA/ Paris 3)

INHA, Salle Walter Benjamin
Galerie Colbert
2 rue Vivienne
Paris 2

About one of his photographic portraits Chris Marker wrote : “the speed of the shutter stopped the rarest moment, a moment of certainty.” One of Marker’s photographic portraits captures the certainty of filmmaker Aleksandr Medvedkin (1900-1989), a loyal communist combatant from the beginning almost to the very end of the Soviet regime, whom Marker befriended in 1967. But which moment of certainty does Medvedkin’s portrait record ? Is it the moment of early Stalinism, when Medvedkin made prosecutorial documentaries and satires from his Film Train ? Or that of the Cold War, in which Medvedkin closely hewed to the official line in film-pamphlets decrying capitalist imperialism and Maoism and extolling the wisdom of Leonid Brezhnev ? Is it Medvedkin’s certainty during Prague Spring, which divided the two friends almost as soon as they had met ? Or could it be that Medvedkin called into question for Marker the very possibility of certainty, of recognizing certainty in the other, or of sharing certainty with another, that is to say, the possibility of socialism ? In answering these questions I focus on Marker’s two films about Medvedkin, Le train en marche (1971) and Le tombeau d’Alexandre (1993), and draw on the two men’s correspondence, which has been preserved in the Cinema Museum in Moscow.

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