Auditorium - DAMSLab > 15:00

Vladimir Dmitriev and the Gosfilmofond

Conversation with Peter Bagrov

Vladimir Dmitriev (1940-2013) never was the official head of Gosfilmofond, yet for almost half a century he determined the politics of the Russian film archive. For a country with strong ideological control over art and limited distribution of foreign films, Gosfilmofond was a window on the wider world of cinema. It is hard to name an important filmmaker who did not work with Gosfilmofond: gathering information, getting familiar with the new trends and searching for inspiration. Thus Dmitriev became the one who granted (or did not grant) access to world cinema to those who would eventually influence it. His goal was to fill the gaps in Soviet distribution and to make Russians/ Soviets familiar with what was important, interesting, curious, bizarre, etc. – all that was happening in film. During Dmitriev’s ‘reign’ the number of titles in the Russian archive tripled. He also saved banned and ‘shelved’ titles: they were never intended to be seen by anyone, but decades passed and some were released around the world. Later, he had a more complicated and ethically difficult mission: saving the entire collection after the collapse of the Soviet Union when many of the former republics were eager to get their national share. Determining the policy of the state archive in a totalitarian country was a burden; Dmitriev was permanently facing different issues of ‘saving’: to save for or to save from? Not just an archivist, but a true artist – he enjoyed his role and did his best to impress and surprise. He was often criticized, sometimes even hated, but now that he is gone he is just deeply missed.

Peter Bagrov




Wednesday 29/06/2016