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The adolescent and the child in the cinema of the Thaw

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This article compares and contrasts the representation of the child and adolescent hero in films of the Thaw (195664). It argues that, while Thaw films seemed to represent a new value system that placed the individual in the centre, numerous films in the 1950s and 1960s continue to follow the patterns of Socialist Realist plots and position characters in hierarchical relationships that replicate the family structure represented in Stalinist texts. In the aftermath of World War II and the Purges, the family unit is broken. While adolescents seek mentors outside the traditional family, and may fall into traps and be misguided, it is the children who fix the broken family bonds. The article argues that, with the shift of narratives to focus on children, traditional values, such as family and nation, are revised, signalling a move away from the centre to the periphery, from the vertical to the horizontal axis. The child-hero moves to the margins and eventually disappears from the screen completely, literally perishing or being transformed into a comic figure in the Stagnation period.

Keywords: Russian cinema; Soviet culture; Thaw; children; melodrama; nation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/srsc.1.2.115_1

Affiliations: College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.

Publication date: March 7, 2007

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  • Studies in Russian & Soviet Cinema focuses on pre-revolutionary, Soviet and post- Soviet film, its aesthetic development, and its position between ideology and industry. SRSC invites contributions that constitute original research. The journal seeks to promote research from established scholars as well as to encourage researchers new to the field.
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