Oksana Bulgakowa
ifk Senior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2018 bis 31. January 2019

Factory of the Gestures.  Body Language in Film


Film did not merely record, it also powerfully influenced the gestural behavior of spectators. These changes occur in the context of an increasingly global image circulation that influences the code of representation in film, the body images in advertisement and in reality. The object of her analysis is, on the one hand, the construction of an ideal body on the screen that easily adapts its gestures to the conditions of a changing multicultural modernity, including the strategy of representation. On the other hand, she explores the reciprocal dynamic between an increasingly international film flow that revives Aby Warburg’s conception of wandering images in a new medial dimension. She proposes to investigate the cultural tradition and the technique of appropriation, adaptation and mutation of the foreign models and their modified meaning. Then, she will move on to analyze whether the subject conceived within the distinct culture is readable within a different cultural hemisphere, and what determines the degree of the legibility of this body, and its possible (mis)interpretation. Finally, she intends to explore the way in which the changes of the body images on the screen influence changes of gestural codes in everyday life.
The main material for her study is provided by fiction films and documentary films that convey the difference between the synthetic model on the screen and everyday behavior. In addition, she also analyzes private and professional photography, visual arts, advertising, and critical reflections on body images in contemporary essays, diaries, novels and advice literature. This project is divided into two parts. The first one investigates these developments in Russia after 1917, the second, the process in divided Germany after 1945.


Oksana Bulgakowa, born in 1954 in Moscow, is a Professor of Film Studies at the Gutenberg University in Mainz. She graduated from the Moscow Film Institute VGIK in 1977 and completed her Ph.D. at the Humboldt University in Berlin in 1982. She worked at the Academy of Arts (GDR), Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek/International Forum of the New Cinema in Berlin, and The ZfL/Center for Literary and Cultural Research. She published numerous books on Russian/Soviet and German cinema, directed films (“Stalin – a Mosfilm production”, WDR 1993, together with Enno Patalas; “The Girl who kissed Stalin”, SR 1995, and “The Different Faces of Sergei Eisenstein”, arte/ZDF 1998, both together with Dietmar Hochmuth), curated exhibits (the film section of the big exhibit “Moscow – Berlin, Berlin – Moscow: 1900– 1950”, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin 1995, Pushkin Museum, Moscow; „Alphabeticon: Russian Experiments with Text and Image in the 20th Century”, Herbert Hoover Memorial Pavilion, Stanford 2003; “Eisenstein’s Mexican Drawings”, Antwerp 2009) and she developed multimedia projects (“The Visual Universe of Sergei Eisenstein” for the Daniel Langlois-Foundation, Montreal, 2005; the DVD „Factory of Gestures. On Body Language in Film”, with the Stanford Humanities Lab, 2008, also “Eisenstein: My Art in Life” for Google Arts and Culture, 2016). She taught at the Humboldt University and Free University in Berlin, in Vienna, Stanford, Berkeley and at the International Film School in Cologne.


gem. mit Dietmar Hochmuth (Hg.), Sergej Eisenstein. Das Ur-Phänomen: Kunst, Berlin 2016, engl. 2017; Das sowjetische Hörauge, Moskau 2010; Stimme als kulturelles Phänomen, Moskau 2015; Die Sinn-Fabrik/Fabrik der Sinne, Berlin 2015; (Hg.), Eisenstein. Metod/Methode, 4 Bd., Berlin 2009; Fabrik der Gesten, Moskau 2005; Sergej Eisenstein. Eine Biographie, Berlin 1998, engl. 2002, russ. 2017; Sergej Eisenstein: drei Utopien. Architekturentwürfe zur Filmtheorie, Berlin 1996; (Hg.), Die ungewöhnlichen Abenteuer des Dr. Mabuse im Lande der Bolschewiki, Berlin 1995.

Vortrag von IFK_Senior Fellow Oksana Bulgakowa an der Universität Klagenfurt

Zum Thema "Das Fremde als Eigenes. Körperbilder und Körpergedächtnis in der Zeit der Bilderwanderung" hält die Filmwissenschafterin und IFK_Senior Fellow Oksana Bulgakowa am 28.11. um 18h einen Vortrag an der Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt.


Sergej Eisenstein, Buchpräsentation und Vortrag, Gäste im Salon: Oksana Bulgakowa und Dietmar Hochmuth


Freitag, 25. Januar 2018, 19.00 Uhr 

Gäste im Salon: Oksana Bulgakowa und Dietmar Hochmuth / Berlin, Autorin und Herausgeber

22 October 2018
  • Lecture
Oksana Bulgakowa


Früher wurde die Sprache der Gesten von Erwachsenen an Kinder, von Erziehern an Schüler weitergegeben, in Büchern über gutes Benehmen festgehalten, in Tanzstunden eingeübt. Was passiert mit dem Körpergedächtnis, wenn die nationale Tradition neu bewertet wird, weil die Menschen Filme, die sich über nationale und soziale Grenzen hinwegbewegen, in ihre Alltagserfahrung einschließen?