Art is one of the ways people communicate with one another. Every work of art brings the viewer to into a special kind of relationship, both with whoever has created or is creating the art and also with everyone else who—together with him, or before or afterwards—is subject to that
It would be a mistake to ascribe this creative power
to an inborn talent.
In art, the genius creator is not just a gifted being, but a person who has succeeded in arranging for their appointed end, a complex of activities, of which the work is the outcome, requiring an effort.
Art is so varied that to reduce it to any single purpose, be it even the salvation of mankind, is an abomination before the Lord.
Conception, my boy, fundamental brain work,
is what makes all the difference in art.
—Dante Gabriel Rosetti
Art is art.
Everything else is everything else.
It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance…
and I know of no substitute whatever
for the force and beauty of its process.
It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.
—Henry David Thoreau
Our Movies & the Russians is a multi-faceted ongoing series of screenings focusing on the surprisingly dense representation of Russians from the early years of US cinema to the present day. Throughout, the audience will discover a few key overarching themes, while other fears and prejudices are specific only to one or another period. The latter include the 1950s American fears about Communism, which often manifested themselves through science-fiction metaphors; there are also the 1910s sense of social superiority to the wild and backwards Russians, the 1930s’ hopes and fears surrounding the Soviets and their social experiment, and the intense vilification of the Soviets in the first half of the 1980’s. The project runs the gamut, bringing in art films and popular films, silent and sound, color and black-and-white, serious and comic, old and new. The films range from the 1997’s popcorn thriller Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford, to the ambitious 1928 The Last Command, touching and tragic, with Emil Jannings, the delightful and iconoclastic Tovarich, with Claudette Colbert, the 1912 The Making an American Citizen—simultaneously crazily politically correct and politically incorrect!—and even a Felix the Cat cartoon!