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Regular version of the site

About the conference

School of of Literary History and Theory at the Faculty of Humanities of HSE University is holding an international conference '1st Vishnevskii Readings' in collaboration with Gosfilmofond of Russia. The conference is dedicated to the memory of Veniamin Vishnevskii (1898–1952), an eminent film scholar and filmographer. It is chiefly aimed at discussing Vishnevskii’s main research interests: the history and poetics of early Russian cinema and filmography as a special discipline.

Conference areas of focus:

– History of pre-revolutionary Russian cinema;

– Poetics of pre-revolutionary Russian cinema;

– Pre-revolutionary cinema and Russian literature of the early twentieth century;

– Pre-revolutionary cinema and Russian culture of the “Silver age”;

– Pre-revolutionary cinema in a global context;

– Pre-revolutionary cinema: new sources and research methods;

– Filmographic and bibliographic aspects of early Russian cinema;

– Cinema of the “interregnum” (late 1910s – early 1920s): history and poetics;

– Filmography as an academic discipline;

– Veniamin Vishnevskii’s biography and legacy.

Presentations should not exceed a 20 minute limit (with 10 minutes for questions and discussion). Working languages are Russian and English.

Apart from presentations, there would be two Evenings of Unidentified Films which consist of screenings and discussions of unidentified Russian films of the 1900s–1910s from the collection of Gosfilmofond of Russia.

About Veniamin Vishnevskii

Портрет ВишневскогоVeniamin Evgenievich Vishnevskii (21 December 1898 – 18 November 1952) was an eminent film scholar, historian, bibliographer and filmographer. In a little more than twenty years (he turned to film studies only in 1930) Vishnevskii created a series of essential works many of which remain the bible for all those who write about the history of pre-revolutionary and early Soviet cinema. Not only did he compile the filmographies “Feature Films of Pre-Revolutionary Russia” (1945), which became a milestone in Russian film studies, and “Documentary Films of Pre-Revolutionary Russia”, which was created two years later but got published almost half a century after the authors death. He is also responsible for a detailed filmography of Soviet feature films of 1918–1945 which was “incorporated” (without mentioning Vishnevskii’s authorship) in the annotated catalogue “Soviet Feature Films” (1961). His chronological tables on the history of Russian cinema formed the basis for the multivolume “Chronicles of Russian Cinema” published in this century. A whole set of his works is scattered around newspapers and magazines – such as papers on Mayakovsky’s work in cinema, film footage of Tolstoy and adaptations of Pushkin. Many of his works were never published in the authors lifetime, some were never completed – among them a most interesting essay on the goals and methods of filmography which was decades ahead of its time, and the first Russian bibliography on television. Vishnevskii’s extensive card indexes, both at VGIK and at Gosfilmofond, are still in heavy demand among researchers. As well as the numerous memoirs on the history of pre-revolutionary cinema which he collected in the 1940s for a book that was never published. Vishnevskii made his mark in the history of film archives, becoming the first head of the department of scientific processing of the domestic film collection at Gosfilmofond of the USSR. Finally, it is worth mentioning that “at odd times” Veniamin Vishevskii made a major contribution to theatre studies as the author of the two-volume bibliography “Theatre Periodicals” (1941).

Organising committee and coordinators


  • Anna Andreeva, third-year student at HSE University, member of the team project Early Russian Film Prose.
  • Aleksandr Anisimov, fourth-year student at HSE University, member of the team project Early Russian Film Prose.
  • Arina Ranneva, third-year student at HSE University, member of the team project Early Russian Film Prose.
  • Lilia Rodicheva, fourth-year student at HSE University.
  • Elizaveta Senatorova, fourth-year student at HSE University.
  • Nadezhda Shmulevich, second-year MA student at HSE University, member of the team project Early Russian Film Prose.

Conference Programme

June 14, Friday



Room 204


Opening remarks

Room 204


Panel 1. Ven. Vishnevskii’s Legacy and the Problems of Filmography

Chair Peter Bagrov

Klara Isaeva (Russian State Institute of CInema – VGIK). Recollections of Veniamin Vishevskiii

Aleksandr Deriabin. On the filmography of early Russian film (1907–1921)

Irina Graschenkova. “Filmovedenie” as the foundation of film history. From the legacy of Veniamin Vishnevskii.

Room 204


Coffee break


Panel 2. Poetics of Pre-revolutionary Cinema (part 1)

Chair Philip Cavendish

Artiom Sopin (Russian State University for the Humanities – RGGU). The problem of genre and style correlation in the Russian cinema of 1916-1918

Anna Kovalova (HSE). "Russian endings" in pre-revolutionary film: What were they in reality?

Room 204




Poetics of Pre-revolutionary Cinema (part 2)

Chair Natalia Noussinova

Evgenii Margolit (Gosfilmofond of Russia). Parodic origin of Yakov Protazanov’s “The Queen of Spades”

Marianna Kireeva (Russian State University for the Humanities – RGGU). “The Bear’s Wedding” (1925) as a backslide of early Russian film

Room 204


Coffee break


Panel 3. Personalia (part 1)

Chair Evgenii Margolit

Yuliya Kozitskaya (HSE). The poetics of pre-revolutionary Russian screenplay (based on Aleksandr Amfiteatrov’s archives)

Irina Zubatenko (Yaroslavl Museum-Reserve). Grigorii Libken’s Yaroslavl film studio. 1914–1918: new facts and sources

Room 204


Coffee break


The First Evening of Unidentified Films

Introduced by Peter Bagrov and Vladimir Semerchuk

“Aktovyi zal”
(2 floor)

June 15, Saturday


Panel 4. Documentary and Feature Film in the 1900 – 1910s: Problems of Survival and Identification

Chair Anna Kovalova

Viktor Batalin (Russain State Archive of Film and Photo Documents – RGAKFD). From the experience of documenting and restoring the original continuity of pre-revolutionary newsreels and documentaries at RGKAFD

Philip Cavendish (University College London). The Last of the Romanovs in Colour: Kinemacolor Images of Tsar Nikolai II and Tsarina Aleksandra Fedorovna in Great Britain and Russia, 1909–1915

Peter Bagrov (George Eastman Museum). Feature films of pre-revolutionary Russia: survival status

Room 204


Coffee break


Panel 5. Lost Films

Chair Yuliya Kozitskaya

Natalia Noussinova. “Film postcards” as a trailer (on Vladimir Gardin’s film “A Nest of the Gentlefolk”)

Clea Wanner (University of Basel). Body Performances in Tragediya Ledy. The Aesthetics of the Naked Body in Early Russian Cinema

Viktoria Safronova (St. Petersburg State University). Vladimir Gardin’s "The Thought" (1916): on the history of the directors explication

Room 204




Panel 6. Personalia (part 2)

Chair Irina Graschenkova

Stanislav Dedinskii (State Central Film Museum). New data on the work of Vladislav Starevich from the Russian archives and libraries

Natalia Riabchikova (HSE). A forgotten hero of Russian cinema: Vitold Akhramovich, Kuleshov’s teacher

Lauri Piispa (University of Turku). Fedor Otsep as a film theorist

Room 204


Coffee break


The Second Evening of Unidentified Films

Introduced by Peter Bagrov and Vladimir Semerchuk

“Aktovyi zal”
(2nd floor)

June 16, Sunday


Visit to Veniamin Vishnevskii’s grave

The central entrance to the Donskoye Cemetery

1 Donskaya ul.

For the conference participants and guests

The conference is held at: Moscow, 21/4 ul. Staraya Basmannaya. All sessions take place at the Academic Council Hall (room 204, 2nd floor), the screenings take place at the Assembly Hall (Aktovyi zal).

Admission is free, an entry pass could be ordered from the conference coordinator Anna Andreeva at forruem@bk.ru.

If you have any questions, please conatact the organising committe member Аnna Kovalova aokovalova@gmail.com.