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Invisible Queerness of Georgian Silent Cinema: Monstrous Femininities in Kote Mikaberidze's My Grandmother (1929)
Kote Mikaberidze’s directorial debut My Grandmother (current slang name for a protector) is considered as one of the masterpieces of Soviet silent cinema by contemporary critics. Filmed in 1929, the film initially was supposed to show “the right way to the masses” and explore the bureaucracy and bourgeois elements intertwined into state system. Nevertheless, the film was banned for forty years and gave a dramatic turn to Mikaberidze’s career, who was no longer given the opportunity to work seriously in the field.
This talk will argue that the bizarre and eccentric queerness of My Grandmother (in the widest understanding of this term) manifests on two levels: first “queer” marks its eccentricity and subversive character towards the “hegemony” and “normality” of Georgia’s State Film Industry’s productions, which does not quite fit into any artistic movement; second, it is queer and outside the mainstream in its hyperbolic representation of gender relations.
Salome Tsopurashvili holds a PhD in gender studies from Tbilisi State University, Georgia and Master's degree in gender studies from Central European University, Hungary. From 2010-15, she was a scholar fellow of the Academic Fellowship Program of the Open Society Foundations, and has been teaching at the Institute for Gender Studies at Tbilisi State University for the past eight years. Her PhD thesis, “Women’s Representations in 1920s Georgian Soviet Silent Cinema: Modifications, Agency and Social Class,” advised by Professor Denise J. Youngblood (University of Vermont), examines themes of orientalization, class and women’s emancipation in 1920s Georgian Soviet silent films. She is author of several publications and a contributor to the edited volume, Gender in Georgia: Feminist Perspectives on Culture, Nation and History in the South Caucasus (eds. Maia Barkaia & Alisse Waterston), being published by Berghahn Books.