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Home > Summer School > Summer School 2022 > ARTS MUSIC FILM AND DESIGN > The revolutionary real: Soviet and SA

THE REVOLUTIONARY REAL: MODERNISMS SOVIET AND SOUTH AFRICAN

John Higgins, Senior Research Scholar and Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town

This course examines the sometimes unexpected relations between Soviet Modernism (1919–1934) and work by South African artist William Kentridge and author J.M. Coetzee. It begins by looking at the tensions between modernist form and realist content in Russian art, writing and cinema in and around the period between 1919 and 1934, and shows the ways in which these dynamic arguments and engagements recur – at times self-consciously, at other times not – in some recent works by William Kentridge and J.M. Coetzee.

 

Lecture titles

1.  Introduction: the revolutionary real – grounding the comparisons – realism, formalism and the real in South Africa and the Soviet Union

2.  Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? (Includes discussions of Mayakovsky, Maxim Gorky, Kasimir Malevich and Isaak Brodsky)

3.  Eisenstein against Vertov: montage and the real in cinema

4.  Gogol, Shostakovitch, William Kentridge – The Nose

5.  Realism, formalism and allegory in J.M. Coetzee’s Jesus Trilogy

 

Reference list

TEXTS: Coetzee, J.M. The Childhood of Jesus, The Schooldays of Jesus, The Death of Jesus,
Gogol, N. The Nose and Mayakovsky, V. 150 000 000 and About That

OPERA: Shostakovitch (directed by William Kentridge) The Nose
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVdIrhVmCYI)

CINEMA: Sergei Eisenstein Strike! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLiNKaUp0AA and
Dziga Vertov Man with a Movie Camera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64jLxgCWukY

Extracts from Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment, Gorky My University and Tolstoy War and Peace

 

ONLINE: https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/performance.aspx?itemid=1509142783

IN-PERSON: https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/performance.aspx?itemid=1509144349

  

DATE: Monday 17–Friday 21 January
TIME: 1.00 pm
COURSE FEES: R375 (online)/R550 (in person)
PLATFORM: MS TEAMS