Part of the Great Expectations cycle
Cinema to a Romantic. Russia, 2014. 30 minutes
The film is setin a modern-day large tourist town on the Volga River. A young female artist from the capital, Dina Karaman, who works at the intersection of video art and film. She comes to this town to visit what once was the main museum in the USSR, where she intends to shoot footage for her new project. It turns out, however, that the museum is closed on this particular day, and the artist heads off to another landmark of the city – a children’s library. There, she becomes an involuntary witness to the implementation of A Strong Family project. Here, the children are being introduced to the library’s rules, in the form of staged actions, which at the same time aims to instill in them love for family, private property and the country.
The second plotline revolves around the relations between Soviet ideology and the writer Alexander Grin, whose book The Scarlet Sails the artist sees in the reading room and uses as an educational aid in the following stage of the children’s introduction to the library. A former revolutionary, Grin was a man for whom the glorious future of mankind didn’t come with the victory of the Revolution, instead the search of this future became the program of his life, which found its expression in dreams of fairytale lands and noble people. In the Soviet media, the writer’s position was regularly criticized as being antithetical to proletarian culture in its idealization of reality.
Dina Karaman constructs her narration by coupling it with the physical shifting of the viewer within a labyrinth of time and meanings. The artist very precisely describes the trajectory of possible development of historical conflict between art and political authority, opposing the intellectual, the critical and the rational with the subjective, the emotional and the transcendental. The lunar landscape that she finds in her archive takes on a symbolic significance at the point where the artistic act can no longer be seen, by virtue of its formalistic qualities, as being capable or incapable of falling into place within certain ideological frameworks in the conditions of the industry of consciousness, and at best merely indicates the beginning of a journey.