- Tales of Russianness: Post-Soviet identity formation in popular film and television
- Award date
- 3 June 2015
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
In this study, I explore contemporary popular film and television representations of Russian cultural identity after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. My corpus includes two blockbusters: Brother (Brat, dir. Aleksei Balabanov, 1997) and Brother-2 (Brat-2, dir. Aleksei Balabanov, 2000); two comic television series: The Enchanted District (Zakoldovannyi uchastok, dir. Aleksandr Baranov, 2006) and Real-Life Lads (Real’nye patsany, dir. Jeanna Kadnikova, 2010 - present); and, finally, two melodramas: The Man of No Return (Chelovek bezvozvratnyi, dir. Ekaterina Grokhovskaia, 2006) and Gromozeka (dir. Vladimir Kott, 2010).
Along with radical political and economic changes, the decomposition of the communist order inaugurated the unravelling of state ideology and the dismantling of existing social norms, conventions and interdependencies. However, these altered historical conditions did not automatically create new mechanisms of identification, nor did they cause the irrevocable erasure of the old identificatory benchmarks. The main title of this study, "Tales of Russianness," aphoristically expresses the core of my argument. Through detailed analyses of the chosen films and television series I show that identity is not only at all times constructed and asserted through acts of narrativization, but that these narratives come into being through the invocation and reworking of existing popular cultural tropes, such as the myths of patriarchal authority and brotherhood, the fantasy of the antagonistic other, the idyll of the countryside community and, especially, the family metaphor.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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