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Fayerweather Hall, Pruyne Lecture Hall

Images of horses abound throughout the cinema of the legendary Russian filmmaker AndreiTarkovsky. His depictions of horses are, indeed, lauded as some of the most striking images not only to grace his own movies, but in all of world cinema. Yet Tarkovsky’s cinema also includes one of the most gruesome instances of violence ever committed against a horse on celluloid. The horses that, for Tarkovsky, exemplified everything good in the world—the sort of lofty, spiritual values that Tarkovsky believed were sorely absent from modern life—are the same animals against which he unleashed shocking brutality. Why? How can Tarkovsky’scinema accommodate such exquisite images of horses and antithetically grisly scenes of their demise? 

This presentation contends that horses represent the two diametric poles ofTarkovsky’s visual ecology, along which all his animal images can be plotted. It reveals howhorses entangle with Tarkovsky’s convoluted views on modern life, masculinity, cinemaand what he perceived as the “end” of horses themselves in contemporary society.

Raymond De Luca is assistant professor of Russian studies in the Department ofModern and Classical Literatures, Languages, and Cultures at the University Kentucky.His research interests include film history, critical theory, animal studies and Sovietcinema. He has just finished a draft of a manuscript, under contract with IndianaUniversity Press, entitled And the Cow Burned: Animals and Philosophy in the Cinemaof Andrei Tarkovsky. This project re-examines Tarkovsky’s filmography—and challengesthe critical idiom that has coalesced around Tarkovsky—from the perspectives of animalstudies, ethical philosophy and environmental history. Raymond has also just accepteda position as an assistant professor in the Department of Russian and East AsianLanguages Cultures at Emory University, where he will begin this fall.

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Mikayla Rasnic
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