‘Immersion in time’: history, memory and the question of readability in the films of Aleksei German
Author: Graham, Alexander
Source: Studies in Russian & Soviet Cinema, Volume 6, Number 2, September 2012 , pp. 177-216(40)
Abstract:The cinema of Aleksei German is a significant body of work that has not yet been comprehensively analysed as an entire oeuvre, whether in Russia or in the West, where German’s four completed films remain difficult to see. Examining the narrative of each film in relation to the moments of Soviet history it explores, this article argues that German’s historical polemics are dependent on a demystification of narrative conventions, opposing these with a radical, alternative remembrance of the mid-century Soviet experience. The question of protagonist and collective memory is central to the film-maker’s authorial vision: this work considers how narration, sound and visual poetics inform the ‘memory structure’ of his films. Rather than associating camerawork with protagonist agency or autobiographical re-creation, German’s camera functions as a phenomenological device that is capable of suspending diegetic coherence. Although intertextual citation has been widely discussed in relation to these films, a divide exists between certain western and Russian scholars over the influence of the work of Iurii German on his son’s output. This article suggests closer dialogic interaction with source texts than has been argued previously in western scholarship, and identifies a critique of the Soviet intelligentsia’s ‘textual memory’ through German’s sustained references to Russian literature and poetry.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 2012
- 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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