A Century of Movie Going: The Aurora Theater

Ashby Gaines (Russian Studies Program, College of William and Mary)

For Abstract of the Research Paper in Russian Click Here. Чтобы прочитать краткое изложение статьи по-русски, нажмите кнопкой мышки здесь.

           Vladimir Lenin once said, ‘Of all the arts, the most important for us is Cinema’. While this claim can be debated, The Aurora Theater has proven that cinema is a highly coveted art form in St. Petersburg. The Aurora Theater opened its doors under the name The Piccadilly Theater in 1913 and since then has been the oldest continuously operating movie theater of St. Petersburg.  Located on the bustling Nevsky Prospekt, the theater epitomizes the spirit of Petersburg’s main street.  In the late Imperial capital, the Nevsky served as a display for the goods of the new market economy, the place where all the existing classes and cultures came together to consume its commodities (Berman 193).  The motion picture was the unusual Western product that the newly opened theater offered to Petersburgers from all walks of life. Although Lenin saw cinema as a primary tool of propaganda, Petersburg moviegoers never were just silent objects of the official film culture. Rather, they kept on negotiating a complex dialogic relationship with films they watched and turned The Aurora Theater into the place where Petersburgers of all walks of life enjoyed modern film culture.

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A Century of Movie Going: The Aurora Theater

Ashby Gaines (Russian Studies Program, College of William and Mary)

For Abstract of the Research Paper in Russian Click Here. Чтобы прочитать краткое изложение статьи по-русски, нажмите кнопкой мышки здесь.

           Vladimir Lenin once said, ‘Of all the arts, the most important for us is Cinema’. While this claim can be debated, The Aurora Theater has proven that cinema is a highly coveted art form in St. Petersburg. The Aurora Theater opened its doors under the name The Piccadilly Theater in 1913 and since then has been the oldest continuously operating movie theater of St. Petersburg.  Located on the bustling Nevsky Prospekt, the theater epitomizes the spirit of Petersburg’s main street.  In the late Imperial capital, the Nevsky served as a display for the goods of the new market economy, the place where all the existing classes and cultures came together to consume its commodities (Berman 193).  The motion picture was the unusual Western product that the newly opened theater offered to Petersburgers from all walks of life. Although Lenin saw cinema as a primary tool of propaganda, Petersburg moviegoers never were just silent objects of the official film culture. Rather, they kept on negotiating a complex dialogic relationship with films they watched and turned The Aurora Theater into the place where Petersburgers of all walks of life enjoyed modern film culture.

[Read more…]

Works Cited: Aurora Theater (Gaines)

Ab, Evgenii. “Avrora shlet privet iz bochki.”  Avrora: 90 let pervomu peterburgskomu kinoteatru.  St. Petersburg: Avrora, 2004.  32-33.

—.  “Etot fil’m vziat v kachestve trofeia.” Avrora: 90 let pervomu peterburgskomu kinoteatru.  St. Petersburg: Avrora,30-31.

“Arina Arakelova’s Interview.” Personal interview. June 2011.

“Aurora Theater.” Movie Theater Aurora – Saint Petersburg. Aurora Movie Theater. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://www.avrora.spb.ru/stat/3/>.

Berman, Marshall. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity. NY: Penguin Books, 1988.

Beumers, Birgit. A History of Russian Cinema. Oxford: Berg, 2008. Print.

Bryan, TC. “Avrora Cinema.” Cinema Treasures. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7696/>.

Ebiri, Bilge Bilge. “In Soviet Russia, Nikita Mikhalkov’s Short Film Watches You — Vulture.” New York Magazine — NYC Guide to Restaurants, Fashion, Nightlife, Shopping, Politics, Movies. New York Magazine, 17 July 2009. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/07/in_soviet_russia_nikita_mikhal.html>.

Ivaneev, Dmitrii.  “Nazvanie , poniatnoe rabochemu cheloveku.”  Avrora: 90 let pervomu peterburgskomu kinoteatru.  St. Petersburg: Avrora, 2004.  18-19.

—.  “Rasskazyvaet istorik kino.” Avrora: 90 let pervomu peterburgskomu kinoteatru.  St. Petersburg: Avrora, 2004.  15.  

Ivanov, Vera. “Russia-InfoCentre :: A Glimpse on the History of Russian Cinema :: Theatre and Cinema :: Culture & Arts.” Russia-InfoCentre ::. Russia- InfoCentre, 27 Apr. 2007. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://www.russia-ic.com/culture_art/theatre/171/>.

“Loginova, Raisa Sergeevna.” Personal interview. July 2011.

“St. Petersburg Events This Year.” St. Petersburg at Your Fingertips: City Guide and Travel Information Service. Institute for Cultural Programs, 1998. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://www.cityvision2000.com/events/events.htm>.

“The History of Cinema and the Film Industry RUSSIA.” The History of Cinema and the Film and Movie Industry. Film Birth. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://www.filmbirth.com/russia.html>.

Back to Ashby Gaines’ research paper

Эшби Гейнс/Кинотеатр Аврора- сто лет диалога с кинозрителем (Абстракт)

В моем проекте я рассматриваю кинотеатр Аврора как место памяти. Аврора является старейшим кинотеатром в Санкт Петербурге. Очень важно, что этот кинотеатр находится на Невском проспекте, центре комерческой и культурной жизни города. Я анализирую эволюцию роли кинотеатра в русской и советской культуре двадцатого века, в часности в жизни Ленинграда и Петербурга.

 

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