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This is neither America nor Paris: The east‐west divide in Eastern European queer-themed films

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The fantasy of the west as a land of 'dreams come true' is a long tradition in the Eastern European cultural imagination and in cinema as well. Eastern European queer-themed films imagine the west as a utopian dreamland and depict the East (Eastern Europe) as backward and futureless. By analysing relevant Eastern European queer-themed films from three different decades, this article points out how the inherited fantasy of the west as imagined during the state socialist era infiltrates Eastern Europe's self-perception, when ‐ in an act of self-colonization ‐ the films create a hierarchy of values within which the liberal west is contrasted with the depiction of Eastern European spaces through othering strategies central in western thought. When the characters' dreams do come true ‐ and they reach the west ‐ disappointment is inevitable. Their retreat to their Eastern origins results in double disappointment, being trapped between crushed western dreams and Eastern nightmares.
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Keywords: Eastern Europe; cultural imagination; fantasy; otherness; queer cinema; utopia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000110888582 University of Debrecen

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture (QSMPC) is a refereed academic journal devoted to the study of representations and expressions of queerness in its various forms. International in scope and representing a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, it publishes scholarship on topics at the intersection of media/popular culture and queerness in gender/sexuality. QSMPC invites articles and artwork pertaining to queerness in media and popular culture, as well as reviews pertaining to recently released queer media artifacts.
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