Marcus Bierich Film Screening
Svetlana Boym: Exile and Imagination
This one-hour documentary, released in 2017, engages with the life and work of Svetlana Boym (1959-2015), literary and cultural critic, media artist, novelist, playwright, and 2003 fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
In 1980, at age 21, Boym left the USSR for the US, being barred from studying at Leningrad University because of anti-Jewish quotas. After her graduate studies at Boston and Harvard Universities, she became the Carl Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard. A brilliant writer of ambitious scope and great imagination, combining personal memoir with philosophical essay and historical analysis, she explored motifs of exile, nostalgia, the diasporic imagination, and various forms of freedom in works by Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Mandelstam, Akhmatova, Brodsky, and many others, in altogether six books, with two more to appear. Through videos of her lectures and interviews, together with photographs taken since her childhood, as well as her own photographs and photomontages, this film conveys Svetlana Boym’s remarkable person and her scholarly, critical, and artistic contributions. Interviews with family, teachers, colleagues, students, and friends—including writer Masha Gessen and artist Vitaly Komar—provide a variety of different perspectives. The text of the film is, for the most part, drawn from Boym’s writings.
Svetlana Boym: Exile and Imagination is distributed by The Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Circulating Film Library.
The screening will be followed by an audience discussion with Judith Wechsler, moderated by Tatyana Gershkovich, Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at Carnegie Mellon University.
In cooperation with the Institute for Cultural Inquiry.