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Fathers and Sons in Soviet and Post-Soviet Film

Edited by Helena Goscilo and Yana Hashamova

Publication Year: 2010

This wide-ranging collection investigates the father/son dynamic in post-Stalinist Soviet cinema and its Russian successor. Contributors analyze complex patterns of identification, disavowal, and displacement in films by such diverse directors as Khutsiev, Motyl', Tarkovsky, Balabanov, Sokurov, Todorovskii, Mashkov, and Bekmambetov. Several chapters focus on the difficulties of fulfilling the paternal function, while others show how vertical and horizontal male bonds are repeatedly strained by the pressure of redefining an embattled masculinity in a shifting political landscape.

Published by: Indiana University Press

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pp. ix-x

We conceived of Cinepaternity several years ago during a conversation about topics in Russian cinema that were begging for analysis, yet unaccountably seemed to have escaped critical notice. A focal preoccupation throughout Russian culture, male filiation has enjoyed a conspicuously vigorous revival on the post-Soviet screen, troping a series of cultural ...

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Introduction Cinepaternity: The Psyche and Its Heritage

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pp. 1-25

We apparently aspire to persist in ourselves through the perseverant links of fathers and sons: links like those woven in blood by the While “the metaphysics of presence,” according to Jacques Derrida, wields incalculable force, paternity in Russian culture demonstrates how “the metaphysics of absence” exerts its own empirical and discursive ...

One Thaw, Stagnation, Perestroika

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1 The Myth of the “Great Family” in Marlen Khutsiev’s Lenin’s Guard and Mark Osep’ian’s Three Days of Viktor Chernyshev

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pp. 29-50

In his recent monograph, Telling October, Frederick Corney contends that the institutionalization of official Soviet memory of the Revolution played an essential part in establishing Soviet political mythology (Corney 11). Since communal commemoration of this official historical narrative was one of Stalinist cinema’s central functions, the major ...

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2 Mending the Rupture: The War Trope and the Return of the Imperial Father in 1970s Cinema

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pp. 51-69

In Vladimir Motyl's film Beloe solntse pustyni [White Sun of the Desert 1969], the Red Army soldier Sukhov, about to be killed by the gang of the warlord Abdullah, is saved at the last moment by the lone warrior Said. “What are you doing here?” Sukhov asks him. “Streliali [There was shooting],” answers Said. This exchange, which by now has become ...

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3 Models of Male Kinship in Perestroika Cinema

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pp. 70-86

Among the vast arsenal of Soviet themes that became vulnerable to critical reevaluation during the perestroika period (1985–91) were numerous tropes of male familial relations, by which I mean those categories of maleness defined by blood or marital relationships to others—father, son, brother, grandfather, uncle—and the varieties of symbolic value ...

Two War in the Post-Soviet Dialogue with Paternity

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4 The Fathers’ War through the Sons’ Lens

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pp. 89-113

Tengiz Abuladze’s film Pokaianie [Repentance 1984] marked the begin-ning of perestroika and glasnost’. It suggested how society should deal with its criminal past for the sake of the future: acknowledge, repent, and renounce. The Son throwing the Father-tyrant’s corpse off a cliff symbolized liberation from the repressive power of Soviet patriarchal ...

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5 War as the Family Value: Failing Fathers and Monstrous Sons in My Stepbrother Frankenstein

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pp. 114-137

The connection between the motif of war and the representation of fatherhood in Soviet and post-Soviet cultures is persistent yet not logically obvious. Since such films of the 1960s as Sud’ba chelovka [Fate of a Man, Sergei Bondarchuk 1959], Kogda derev’ia byli bol’shimi [When the Trees Were Tall, Lev Kulidzhanov 1961]...

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6 A Surplus of Surrogates: Mashkov’s Fathers

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pp. 138-166

Frequently touted as Russia’s matinee idol and answer to Antonio Banderas,1 Vladimir Mashkov has enjoyed a long and successful career on stage and screen,2 assuming a wide variety of cinematic roles, most famously those of Tolian, the eponymous protagonist in Vor [The Thief 1997] and of the corrupt, flamboyant entrepreneur Makovskii in Pavel ...

Three Reconceiving Filial Bonds

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7 Resurrected Fathers and Resuscitated Sons: Homosocial Fantasies in The Return and Koktebel

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pp. 169-190

At the turn of the millennium, gender studies exhibited an increased interest in and concern about contemporary masculinity, an anxiety that mainly stems from the perception of “manhood in an awkward predicament.” Recurrent fears of “man in crisis” produced a body of scholarship shifting the focus from singular masculinity to masculinities and from ...

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8 The Forces of Kinship: Timur Bekmambetov’s Night Watch Cinematic Trilogy

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pp. 191-216

In Timur Bekmambetov’s Night Watch and Day Watch the father and son are divided by their loyalties to the opposing forces of Light and Darkness, and each of them finds this separation excruciatingly painful. The director chooses the realm of the family, with a special focus on parent-child relations, to explore the social phenomenon of authority. ...

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9 Fathers, Sons, and Brothers: Redeeming Patriarchal Authority in The Brigade

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pp. 217-243

In Totem and Taboo Sigmund Freud offered a psychologized interpretation of the very origins of human society. After studying the myths and religious practices of “primitive” peoples, Freud reconstructed the foundation of human society in the narrative of an all-powerful primal father who restricts his sons’ access to the tribe’s women.

Four Auteurs and the Psychological/Philosophical

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10 Fraught Filiation: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Transformations of Personal Trauma

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pp. 247-281

Unanimously acclaimed Soviet Russia’s premier cinematic auteur, Andrei Tarkovsky (1932–1986) declared himself incapable of distinguishing between (his) art and (his) life, and ceaselessly explored his personal obsessions on celluloid. Adulatory assessments of his works enshrined those obsessions as an uncompromising, heroic commitment to such metaphysical and philosophical categories as spirituality, conscience, time, and memory in a repressive state declaratively inimical to metaphysics.

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11 Vision and Blindness in Sokurov’s Father and Son

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pp. 282-310

Since his 1978/1987 debut with The Lonely Voice of Man [Odinokii golos cheloveka], Aleksander Sokurov—the “poet laureate” of late-/post-Soviet Russian cinema—has produced a large and critically acclaimed body of work (sixteen features and thirty documentaries of various lengths), in a ponderous, neo-Romantic mode that aspires to nothing less than ...


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pp. 311-314


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pp. 315-331

E-ISBN-13: 9780253001375
E-ISBN-10: 0253001374
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253354587

Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 43 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2010