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Echoes of the past: Ukrainian poetic cinema and the experiential ethnographic mode

Gurga, J; (2012) Echoes of the past: Ukrainian poetic cinema and the experiential ethnographic mode. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis introduces the concept of the Experiential Ethnographic Mode to describe fiction film in which a particular approach is adopted during the filmmaking process, one which involves time spent on location and close collaboration with local residents. This filmmaking process forms an integral part of the filmic product, which seeks to evoke within the viewer a sense of the filmmakers’ experience of being there. The Experiential Ethnographic Mode is elaborated according to its three basic components – time, space and sound – which are fundamental to the experience of being there and, of course, to the cinematic medium. In order to explain the concept of the mode, this thesis takes as its illustrative example the school of Ukrainian poetic cinema. The Experiential Ethnographic Mode is offered as a defining characteristic of this school, and its identification enables a new interpretation of the films. These films, produced principally in the 1960s at the Dovzhenko Studio in Kyiv, are characterized by a blend of fiction and non-fiction; the use of local, non-professional actors and experimental soundtracks; and a concern with the issue of cultural heritage. The works can be connected to the traumatic events of the country’s recent past, events which transformed the relationship between the people and the land. Rather than seeing the films as oriented on the past and a lost way of life, however, this thesis shows how they are anchored in the present and assert the continuity of traditions. Employing Marianne Hirsch’s notion of ‘postmemory’ to describe the relationship of the second generation to the trauma of the first, it is argued that the films, through their use of the Experiential Ethnographic Mode, can be seen to engage in ‘postmemorial work’ and attempt to rebuild intergenerational connections.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Echoes of the past: Ukrainian poetic cinema and the experiential ethnographic mode
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1380194
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