University of Virginia's Spring Slavic Film Series Presents Seven Offerings

February 01, 2011

February 1, 2011 — The 2011 Spring Slavic Film Series, offered by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, offers a lineup that includes films from Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, Serbia-Croatia and the Czech Republic.

The screenings, which are free and open to the public, begin at 7 p.m. in Clemons Library, room 322A. The films have English subtitles.

"We tried to select films that would expose students to various stimulating facets of Slavic history, language and popular culture," graduate student Michael Marsh-Soloway, one of the program organizers, said. "The films are especially useful for students currently enrolled in classes focusing on Russian and Eastern European life."

The schedule:

• Jan. 31
"Писмо до Америка" ("Letter to America]")
Bulgaria, 2001; 88 min. Directed by Iglika Trifonova

Ivan's best friend, Kamen, is dying in an American hospital. Since he's denied a visa to the U.S. and can't stay by his side in his last moments, Ivan decides to set off for the Bulgarian countryside, taking the camera Kamen has given him. After some time, he writes her a very special letter, telling all about the places and characters he meets on his way, witnesses to a time that is bound to be forgotten.

• Feb. 16
"Zert" ("The Joke")
Czechoslovakia, 1969; 80 min. Directed by Jaromil Jires

In the 1950s, Ludvik Jahn was expelled from the Communist Party and his university by his fellow students, because of a politically incorrect note he sent to his girlfriend. Fifteen years later, he tries to get his revenge by seducing Helena, the wife of one of his accusers.

• Feb. 28
"Белое солнце пустыни" ("White Sun of the Desert")
Russia, 1969; 85 min. Directed by Vladimir Motyl

A soldier of the Red Army named Sukhov has been fighting in the Russian Civil War in Russian Asia for many years. Just as he is about to return home to his wife, Sukhov is chosen to guard and protect the harem of a guerilla leader, Abdulla, who is wanted by the Red Army and left his harem behind because the women hindered him. Sukhov's task proves to be more difficult than he imagined.

• March 23
"Matka Joanna od Aniołów" ("Mother Joan of Angels")
Poland, 1961; 105 min. Directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz

In the 17th century, a convent in a small town is being visited by high-ranking Catholic official trying to exorcise a nun supposedly possessed by demons. A local priest has been burned for creating this condition by sexual temptation of the nuns, especially the mother superior, who brings on the collective hysteria of the group. There is another young priest who is to help with the exorcism. His first meeting with the convent head, Mother Joanne of the Angels, has her seemingly possessed by Satan – she yells blasphemies and incites the priest. She begs the priest to save her and to help her to be a saint. To help her, he kills two innocent people to be forever a prey of the devil and thus allows her freedom.

• April 4
"Ko to tamo peva?" ("Who's That Singing Over There?")
Serbia-Croatia, 1980; 86 min. Directed by Slobodan Sijan

It's April 5, 1941, somewhere in Serbia. A group of people go on a bus to Belgrade ...

• April 20
"Тіні забутих предків" ("Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors")
Ukraine, 1964; 97 min. Directed by Sergei Parajanov

In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her, his grief lasts months; finally he rejoins the colorful life around him, marrying Palagna. She wants children, but his mind stays on his lost love. To recapture his attention, Palagna tries sorcery, and in the process comes under the spell of the sorcerer, publicly humiliating Ivan, who then fights the sorcerer. The lively rhythms of village life, the work and the holidays, the pageant and revelry of weddings and funerals, the change of seasons, and nature's beauty give proportion to Ivan's tragedy.

• May 2
"Кин-дза-дза!" ("Kin-dza-dza")
Russia 1986; 139 min. Directed by Georgi Daneliya

The story takes place on the desert planet Pluke in the galaxy, Kin-dza-dza, where two
Soviet humans previously unknown to each other are stranded due to an accidental encounter with an alien teleportation device. The movie describes their long quest to find a way back home.

For information, contact Marsh-Soloway at or 203-980-6163.

— By Jane Ford

Media Contact

Jane Ford

Senior News Officer U.Va. Media Relations