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The event is held in Room S-1.06 Strand Building Strand Campus.

We are delighted that Roma Liberov, the director, will be present to introduce the screening of his moving and powerful film about the life and work of the great Russian poet, Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938). After the screening of the film (running-time 1 hour 24 minutes), there will be an opportunity for Q & A and discussion with Roma Liberov.

Osip Mandelstam was one of the greatest Russian poets of the 20th century. Together with Anna Akhmatova and Nikolai Gumilyev, in 1913 he founded what would become known as the Acmeist movement, which proclaimed clarity and precision as a reaction to the mysticism and vagueness of the reigning Symbolist school. Years later Mandelstam described Acmeism as “a yearning for world culture”.

In the words of the Australian author and translator, Roger Pulvers: “Mandelstam’s poems are beautifully constructed, like exquisite jewellery with jewels of many facets... Words seem to be organic entities that sprout meanings and throw off spores, taking on a new life of their own.”

Mandelstam’s life and work epitomise the tragic fate of many Russian poets. He was arrested for the first time in May 1934 for having written a satirical epigram about Stalin: «Мы живём, под собою не чуя страны» (“We live, but no longer feel the ground under our feet”. After imprisonment and interrogation in the Lyubanka, he was exiled first to Cherdyn, a town east of the Urals, and then to Voronezh. In 1938 he was re-arrested, sentenced to forced labour in Kolyma prison-camp and, in harrowing circumstances, died of cold and starvation in a transit-camp near Vladivostok. His body was thrown into an unmarked, communal pit.

In his life-time Mandelstam was able to publish only three books/collections of his poems. His wife, Nadezhda Mandelstam, heroically preserved his works by memorising the whole corpus of his unpublished poems until she was able to transfer his archive to the West, where the first complete edition of Mandelstam’s collected works was published. It is thanks to her that we are able to read Mandelstam’s unique works and fulfil the hope he expressed: «Сохрани мою речь навсегда...» (“Keep my words forever...”).

Through the black velvet of the Soviet night” («чёрный бархат советской ночи») Osip Mandelstam shines as a beacon of civilisation, and of the very highest cultural, aesthetic and moral values. His life and work are a triumphant affirmation of the human spirit, and his verse resonates just as powerfully today.

Roma Liberov is a highly acclaimed Russian film director, screenwriter and producer. Roma was born in 1980, in Vilnius. He graduated in film direction studies at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow and for six years worked at the BBC. During the next decade he made films about various Russian writers – Yuri Olesha («Юрий Олеша по кличке “писатель”», 2009), Iosif Brodsky («Pазговор с небожителем», 2010), Georgi Vladimov («Один день Жоры Владимова», 2011), Sergei Dovlatov («Hаписано С.Д.», 2012) and Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov («Ильфипетров», 2013). And in 2015 he made a film about one of the greatest Russian poets of the 20th century, Osip Mandelstam.

The event is held in Room S-1.06 Strand Building Strand Campus.

At this event

Tanya Linaker

Team Leader for Slavic and Middle Eastern Languages

Event details

S-1.06 Strand Building Strand Campus
Bush House South East Wing
Strand, London WC2R 1AE

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