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Love, comedy and communism in Lubitsch's Ninotchka, and the work of Alexandra Kollontai - Aaron Schuster

Project Spaces Framer Framed

IJpromenade 2
1031 KT Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 7630973

Open Tue - Fri / 13-21 hrs
Sat - Sun / 11-21 hrs

Conversation 8 Nov

Time 20-22 hrs


Filmstill Ninotchka (1939)

As part of exhibition It Won't Be Long Now, Comrades!, Framer Framed is hosting a lecture by professor and author Aaron Schuster. Schuster will go into the themes of communism, love, comedy and feminism in the 1939 film 'Ninotchka'. The film was actually a point of inspiration to the curators in the Comrades! exhibition concept - 'It won't be long now, comrades!' is a quote by the film's protaganist Ninotchka, referring to the crisis of the capitalism system.

Lecture: 'Love, comedy, and communism in Lubitsch's Ninotchka, and the work of Alexandra Kollontai'

It would be easy enough to view Ernst Lubitsch's film Ninotchka (1939) as an anti-communist tale. In this film, the cold, unfeeling Soviet emissary Ninotchka (Greta Garbo), sent to Paris on an important affair of state, ends up having a very different affair: she falls in love with a gigolo and learns how to stop worrying about the People and enjoy the charming luxuries of capitalist life (she even laughs!).

In his lecture Aaron Schuster will show, on the contrary, how the best jokes in the film are actually directed against capitalism, and that Ninotchka remains faithful to the communist cause. He will go into the politics of Lubitsch's comedies, dealing with capitalism, communism, and fascism. In addition, Schuster will draw a comparison between Ninotchka and the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai (rumored to be the model for her character), looking at how Kollontai articulated a theory of comradeship-love.

Aaron Schuster is a visiting professor at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of The Trouble with Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis (MIT Press, 2016).


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