Film series showcases area studies program

GVL / Archive
Svetoslav Pavlov

GVL / Archive Svetoslav Pavlov

Kari Norton

Ballet and theatre have dominated Russian culture, and on Nov. 5 Grand Valley State University’s Area Studies will be showcasing the 2006 documentary “Ballerina,” which profiles five Russian dancers.

The documentary, directed by Bertrand Normand, is part of the Global Eyes Film Series and the Russian Studies Film Festival and follows the ballerinas from the Mariinsky Theatre, which was once known as Kirov. It shows the training sessions and work that took place in preparation for rehearsals, along with behind the scenes footage of the dancers’ everyday lives.

Svetoslav Pavlov, Grand Valley State University Russian studies’ program coordinator, said the film does a good job of highlighting that ballet and theater are still a big part of the Russian culture.

The Russian documentary is the third in a series of five films, each representing a different section of GVSU’s area studies departments.

Zulema Moret, organizer of the Global Eyes Film Series, said they are showing different types of films to promote global awareness and knowledge of cultures from around the world.

Each area studies coordinator chose a film according to his or her personal criteria, Moret said.

The Global Eyes Film Series started Oct. 10 with the Middle Eastern film “Koran By Heart,” directed by Greg Barker, followed by “Life and Debt,” directed and produced by Stephanie Black, on Oct. 22 as the African American studies film choice.

The films are taken from different approaches and perspectives.

On Nov. 19, the Asian studies will show the film “Last Train Home,” directed by Lixin Fan. The Chinese documentary focuses on migrant workers taking the train home for the Chinese New Year to the lives they had to leave behind in order to find work.

The final film in the series, “Nostalgia de la luz” (Nostalgia for the Light), directed by Patricio Guzmán, will be presented Dec. 3 by the Latin American studies. In the film, astronomers gather in Chile from all over the world to study the stars, while a group of women search the soil in an attempt to dig up the remains of their long-lost relatives.

“Ballerina” also kicks off the Russian Studies Film Festival, and Pavlov said the film is different from the others that were chosen in its series because it is a documentary.

“This is the first Russian film festival at GVSU and the start of a tradition,” Pavlov said. “We want to make it known in the Russian speaking community, it is not just a campus and university event, but for the whole community.”

The film festival runs until Nov. 8 and will include “Vodka Lemon,” “Since Otar Left,” and “Kidnapping, Caucasian Style.”

The Nov. 5 showing of “Ballerina” will take place in Mackinac Hall, room 126 on GVSU’s Allendale Campus at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. For more information contact [email protected]
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