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The Bright Future’s Past: Notes on the Soviet War Melodrama during the Thaw / Lugarić Vukas, Danijela.

By: Lugarić Vukas, Danijela.
Material type: ArticleArticleDescription: str.Other title: The Bright Future’s Past: Notes on the Soviet War Melodrama during the Thaw [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): Soviet War Melodrama, the Thaw, P. Bourdieu, M. Bakhtin | Soviet War Melodrama, the Thaw, P. Bourdieu, M. Bakhtin In: ASN 2017 (Columbia University, Harriman Institute, New York, SAD, 4.-7. svibnja 2017.)Summary: The essay focuses on first internationally acclaimed Soviet post-war melodramas, The Cranes are Flying (1957) and Ballad of a Soldier (1959). By analyzing specific film temporalities and images of spaces as well as bound subjectivities, the essay traces Soviet dissolution back to late Soviet-socialist melodrama and claims that the first signs of Soviet collapse can be traced back to cultural formations (which are here understood as Bourdieuan “structuring structures”). The essay aims to illuminate that the cultural and political discourses of the time gradually followed different tracks, irrevocably taking different paths, which eventually (together with the further deepening of the gap between the field of culture and the field of political establishment during Brezhnev’s stagnation) brought about the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After all, as Iosif Brodskij insightfully observed, destalinization had to do more with Tarzan, than with the famous Khrushchev’s speech: “I claim that four episodes of Tarzan contributed to destalinization more than all the words spoken during the 20th Party Congress and afterward” („Ja utverždaju, čto odin tol'ko četyre serii 'Tarzana' sposobstvovali destalinizacii bol'še, čem vse reči Hruščeva na 20-m s''ezde i vposledstvii, “ cf. Zorkina 2006: 293). From the point of view of history of melodrama in Russian and Soviet cinema, it is particularly intriguing to note that during the Thaw genre modalities of melodrama provided fruitful artistic framework for addressing an impasse in post-war socialist project, i.e. a blockage in its progression towards communism (see also Jukić 2016 for a comparative perspective).
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The essay focuses on first internationally acclaimed Soviet post-war melodramas, The Cranes are Flying (1957) and Ballad of a Soldier (1959). By analyzing specific film temporalities and images of spaces as well as bound subjectivities, the essay traces Soviet dissolution back to late Soviet-socialist melodrama and claims that the first signs of Soviet collapse can be traced back to cultural formations (which are here understood as Bourdieuan “structuring structures”). The essay aims to illuminate that the cultural and political discourses of the time gradually followed different tracks, irrevocably taking different paths, which eventually (together with the further deepening of the gap between the field of culture and the field of political establishment during Brezhnev’s stagnation) brought about the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After all, as Iosif Brodskij insightfully observed, destalinization had to do more with Tarzan, than with the famous Khrushchev’s speech: “I claim that four episodes of Tarzan contributed to destalinization more than all the words spoken during the 20th Party Congress and afterward” („Ja utverždaju, čto odin tol'ko četyre serii 'Tarzana' sposobstvovali destalinizacii bol'še, čem vse reči Hruščeva na 20-m s''ezde i vposledstvii, “ cf. Zorkina 2006: 293). From the point of view of history of melodrama in Russian and Soviet cinema, it is particularly intriguing to note that during the Thaw genre modalities of melodrama provided fruitful artistic framework for addressing an impasse in post-war socialist project, i.e. a blockage in its progression towards communism (see also Jukić 2016 for a comparative perspective).

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