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The Filmmaker's PhilosopherMerab Mamardashvili and Russian Cinema$
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Alyssa DeBlasio

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474444484

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444484.001.0001

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Alexander Zeldovich’s Target (2011): Tolstoy and Mamardashvili on the Infinite and the Earthly

Alexander Zeldovich’s Target (2011): Tolstoy and Mamardashvili on the Infinite and the Earthly

(p.124) Chapter 5 Alexander Zeldovich’s Target (2011): Tolstoy and Mamardashvili on the Infinite and the Earthly
The Filmmaker's Philosopher

Alyssa DeBlasio

Edinburgh University Press

One of Mamardashvili’s students at the Higher Courses in the 1980s was Alexander Zeldovich, a psychologist who had practiced for several years in Moscow before entering film school. Together with postmodernist novelist Vladimir Sorokin, Zeldovich wrote the screenplay for Target (2011) as a loose adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Set in an ambiguous, not-so-distant future, the film tells the story of a group of Moscow elites who discover the secret to eternal youth. This chapter offers a dual-voiced reading of the film. First, I analyze the film in the context of Tolstoy’s writing on the philosophy of death, where the categories of infinity and the eternal are critical for understanding the ethical and spiritual dimensions of his work. Second, I look at the film in the context of Mamardashvili’s own views on infinity, which was among the more repeated terms in his lectures and which he viewed, in the tradition of Hegel, as the bridge between self-consciousness and being. By engaging film, philosophy, and literature across genres and historical periods, I hope not only to open up new ways of reading Zeldovich’s film, but to argue for a robust understanding of the philosophical potential of the film image as a dynamic space of philosophical encounters.

Keywords:   Alexander Zeldovich / Aleksandr Zel’dovich, Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, Tolstoian philosophy, Vladimir Sorokin

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