Russia in Bloom: documentary screening and discussion with Leonid Parfenov

Acclaimed Russian TV journalist Leonid Parfenov will present his latest documentary, Russia in Bloom (Tsvet natsii), dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, a pioneer in colour photography in pre-revolutionary Russia. The film will be followed by a discussion with Parfenov and Close and Far curator Kate Bush.

Prokudin-Gorsky realised the exceptional potential of colour photography and, from 1909 through to 1915, singlehandedly took on an ambitious project to document the Russian Empire in its “natural colours”. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, as well as the daily lives of the country’s diverse population.

Parfenov and his film crew follow in Prokudin-Gorsky’s footsteps, visiting 12 regions, including now independent Georgia and Uzbekistan, to bear witness to Prokudin-Gorsky’s extraordinary professional feat and to document the changes that have taken place over the past 100 years, presenting a vivid portrait of a lost world.

The screening will take place in Rich Mix, a five minute walk from Calvert 22 Gallery. The exhibition will be open until 6pm. Directions

Leonid Parfenov is one of the most respected independent journalists working in Russia today. After a long career as a news presenter and producer on Russia’s main channel, he has lately focussed on mainstream TV documentaries, including Namedni, a long-running account of the last years of the Soviet Union. In 2010 he made international headlines for his outspoken criticism of TV journalism in Russia, referring to them as “not journalists at all but bureaucrats, following the logic of service and submission”. 

Director: Sergey Nurmamed
Country: Russia, 2013
Running Time: 79 minutes
Production: Namedni Studio
Writer and presenter: Leonid Parfenov
In Russian with English subtitles