The Imperial Trace: Recent Russian Cinema by Nancy Condee

By Nancy Condee

The cave in of the USSR looked as if it would spell the top of the empire, but it under no circumstances foreclosed on Russia's enduring imperial preoccupations, which had prolonged from the reign of Ivan IV over 4 and a part centuries. studying a number of flicks from modern Russian cinema, Nancy Condee argues that we won't make feel of present Russian tradition with no accounting for the region's behavior of imperial id. yet is that this whatever made legible via narrative alone-Chechen wars on the outer edge, dress dramas set within the capital-or may possibly an imperial hint be sought in different, extra embedded features, corresponding to the constitution of illustration, the stipulations of construction, or the preoccupations of its filmmakers? This expansive research takes up this complicated query via a commanding research of the past due Soviet and post-Soviet interval auteurists, Kira Muratova, Vadim Abdrashitov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Aleksei German, Aleksandr Sokurov and Aleksei Balabanov.

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Hosking’s (Empire 33) comment, a year after the Soviet collapse, still commands our attention years later: “It remains to be seen,” he wrote in 1992, “whether Russia . . 56 The fourth and most interesting contradiction, arising from this troubling issue of how far the empire might yet shrink, concerns Russia’s relationship to its own heartland and by what notion of “real” this heartland comes to be identified as the real Russia. In its most provocative formulation, the question might be asked how the relationship of the Russian metropole to the more ethnically homogeneous, rural heartland is different from the imperial relation to its far-flung ethnoterritorial peripheries.

Reaching back along this philosophical trajectory are other related turns of logic: to be poor in this world is to be rich in the other world; to be humble is to be great; to suffer is to prevail; to be mute is to be eloquent; to renounce power is to gain power. This inverse logic, occupying a cultural space unclaimed by default, was completely compatible with the Great Power politics both at home and vis-à-vis the West, reproducing internationally those domestic relations of subsumption that were practiced locally within the empire.

56 The fourth and most interesting contradiction, arising from this troubling issue of how far the empire might yet shrink, concerns Russia’s relationship to its own heartland and by what notion of “real” this heartland comes to be identified as the real Russia. In its most provocative formulation, the question might be asked how the relationship of the Russian metropole to the more ethnically homogeneous, rural heartland is different from the imperial relation to its far-flung ethnoterritorial peripheries.

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