Golovnev I. Visual Ethnography of Vladimir Arseniev

Ivan Golovnev
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0003-4866-7122
E-mail: golovnev.ivan@gmail.com


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ABSTRACT. The article discusses a colorful page in the work of V. K. Arseniev, connected with cinema — the history and methodology of creating the classic documentary film Forest People directed by A. A. Litvinov, written by V. K. Arseniev. The basis of the study is archival materials: field diaries and photographs, personal and business correspondence, production documentation and manuscripts of unpublished articles by V. K. Arseniev and A. A. Litvinov. The work compares interrelated primary sources — the research monograph by V. K. Arseniev Forest People Udege (1926) and the ethnographic film Forest People, produced in the Primorsky Film Expedition “Sovkino” Studio (1928). The film Forest People was a kind of cine-text, consisting of an approximately equal number of film frames and text captions interspersed in the narrative. Therefore, the approach to analyzing the film was its research transcript — “translation” into a text format. Based on the received basis, the method of “film adaptation of a scientific monograph in documentary cinema”, unique in the history of Russian ethnographic cinema, is analyzed, which is quite relevant for use in modern practice. On the one hand, the film work under consideration captures valuable from a research point of view materials on the ethnography of the Udege, on the other hand, they reflect contradictory images of Soviet construction in the Far Eastern Territory. The conclusion is made about the objective and subjective properties of ethnographic cinema as a multi-layered document of its time, which, with proper research criticism, turns out to be an informative source for studying a wide range of humanitarian disciplines.


KEYWORDS: Vladimir Arseniev, ethnographic film, Soviet ethnography 


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2022-4(18)-155-172



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