The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema

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Oxford University Press, Apr 8, 2009 - Performing Arts - 360 pages
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The collapse of the USSR seemed to spell the end of the empire, yet it by no means foreclosed on Russia's enduring imperial preoccupations, which had extended from the reign of Ivan IV over four and a half centuries. Examining a host of films from contemporary Russian cinema, Nancy Condee argues that we cannot make sense of current Russian culture without accounting for the region's habits of imperial identification. But is this something made legible through narrative alone-Chechen wars at the periphery, costume dramas set in the capital-or could an imperial trace be sought in other, more embedded qualities, such as the structure of representation, the conditions of production, or the preoccupations of its filmmakers? This expansive study takes up this complex question through a commanding analysis of the late Soviet and post-Soviet period auteurists, Kira Muratova, Vadim Abdrashitov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Aleksei German, Aleksandr Sokurov and Aleksei Balabanov.
 

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Contents

Custodian of the Empire
3
How Russia Forgot to Go to the Movies
49
European but Not Western?
85
The Zoological Imperium
115
A Community of Somnambulants
141
Shuffling Off the Imperial Coil
159
Forensics in the Dynastic Capital
185
The Metropoles Death Drive
217
9 Postscript
237
Notes
245
References
303
Index
332
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About the author (2009)

Nancy Condee is on the Slavic and Film Studies faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been Director of the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies for over a decade (1995-2006) and is a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony's College (Oxford University). She is co-founder and co-editor of the journal Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema, and serves on a number of editorial and advisory boards, including Kinokultura, Critical Quarterly, and Russian Studies in Literature. She is a member of the Russian Guild of Cinema Scholars and Critics (Union of Cinematographers of the Russian Federation) and is one of two US scholars annually for over a decade invited to and supported by the Kinotavr Film Festival (Sochi), Russia's leading post-socialist film festival. She has served for six years as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the largest US grant agency for social-science research in the former socialist bloc.

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