MS 190: Authorship is the course website for the Fall 2006 Media Studies senior seminar at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
Yuri Tsivian's Talk on Tuesday
So I went to Yuri Tsivian's talk on Tuesday, and it ended up being very different from what I expected. The title "Chaplin and the Soviets" was pretty broad, so I guess I didn't know exactly what to expect... maybe something about the fan base of moviegoers in the U.S.S.R. who were into Chaplin's films. But as it turns out, it wasn't really about admiration of Chaplin's acting; it was about people's awe of his "perfect movement." Apparently the Soviets, who were obsessed with efficient ways of moving the body for the sake of efficient labor, thought that Chaplin was a role model because of the way he moved his body in his films. He had an entire school of followers who saw him as an academic and intellectual based on his movements. They used his movies in studies of human locomotion, hoping that this would increase labor output in their communist society. They even asked him for an annotated bibliography of sources he had used to study motion. Needless to say, Chaplin was baffled. He saw himself as a comedian, an actor--not an intellectual--and he had no idea how to deal with this sort of fame.
(Unexpected and bizarre, yet pretty interesting, all at the same time...)