In constructing this film series, it was my intention to draw a broader audience by focusing on one of the most entertaining and innovative genres of Soviet filmmaking. Sci-fi films consistently marked a technical apogee in Soviet cinema – often consonant with official ideology but also capable of reflecting it in a brilliantly “crooked mirror” and even subverting it under the guise of ‘comedy’ or ‘fantasy,’ which, no doubt, is why some of the best Soviet filmmakers turned to it in order to explore questions of ethics, politics, and everyday life.
If I could do anything differently, however, I would have been more minimalistic and focused on a sub-genre within Soviet sci-fi or on a few auteurs in order to grab the attention of a specific audience. The truth is that, just like a bar, a Slavic film series is mostly comprised of its regulars. For example, I received very mixed reactions from audience members after screening a comedy like Gaidai before an existential drama like Tarkovskii and lost some of them for very different reasons along the way. While my series was by no means a failure, it led me to believe that specificity and consistency in tone might be best in any future film series – i.e., just like writing, consideration for your audience.
- David Hock (Princeton University Ph.D candidate)