Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 7:30pm
Evgenii Bauer's The Dying Swan

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

Presented by Oksana Chefranova, Emily Coates, and Josiah McElheny

The Dying Swan, Evgenii Bauer, 1916, digital projection, 49 mins

An essential if somewhat neglected figure of pre-Soviet cinema, Evgenii Bauer advanced film in Czarist Russia to the status of art with his brooding, opulent melodramas, which gathered inspiration from art nouveau architecture, the literature of decadence, and early modern ballet. Originally a painter and set designer, Bauer helped create one of Russia’s first movie stars when he directed the massively popular ballerina Vera Karalli as the doomed protagonist of his 1916 picture The Dying Swan. For this, her best-known screen role, Karalli plays a mute dancer who becomes the obsession of a morbid, aristocratic artist. The episode that sparks his madness is Karalli’s interpretation of “The Dying Swan,” the solo originally conceived for Anna Pavlova by Mikhail Fokine in 1905—one of the major turning points in 20th century dance—which Bauer showcases in its entirety. In this pivotal moment, it’s been argued, Karalli expanded the somatic lexicon of silent-era acting by drawing on the pantomime and mimicry of contemporary Russian ballet.

Tonight's rare screening will begin with an introduction from film scholar Oksana Chefranova, and conclude with a discussion between choreographer Emily Coates and artist Josiah McElheny around Karalli’s performance, which will include Coates's response to Karalli's vision as well as the presentation of a piece by Coates and McElheny that offers an unexpected reversal of The Dying Swan's tragic finale. Bauer's film and this recent intervention are both central to Coates and McElheny’s new collaboration, A History of Light, which will premiere at Danspace Project November 8-10.

Oksana Chefranova is an Associate Research Scholar in Film and Media Studies at Yale University; she is currently completing her book From Garden to Kino: Evgenii Bauer, Cinema, and Genealogy of Built Environments in Russia Circa 1900.

Emily Coates is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and director of the dance program at Yale University; her book, Physics and Dance, co-written with particle physicist Sarah Demers, will be released by Yale University Press in January 2019.

Josiah McElheny is a visual artist, filmmaker, and writer based in New York; his work, in the form of three paintings for projection, is on permanent view at Light Industry.

Special thanks to Milestone Films.

Tickets - $8, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.