Women in Soviet Film : The Thaw and Post-Thaw Periods book cover
1st Edition

Women in Soviet Film
The Thaw and Post-Thaw Periods

ISBN 9780367889715
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

This book illuminates and explores the representation of women in Soviet cinema from the late 1950s, through the 1960s, and into the 1970s, a period when Soviet culture shifted away, to varying degrees, from the well-established conventions of socialist realism. Covering films about working class women, rural and urban women, and women from the intelligentsia, it probes various cinematic genres and approaches to film aesthetics, while it also highlights how Soviet cinema depicted the ambiguity of emerging gender roles, pressing social issues, and evolving relationships between men and women. It thereby casts a penetrating light on society and culture in this crucial period of the Soviet Union’s development.

Table of Contents

List of Figures; List of contributors; Preface; Introduction; Part I: Actresses, On-Screen Personas, and Their Evolution through the Years; Chapter 1: Tatiana Samoilova and the Search for a New Soviet Woman (Anthony Anemone); Chapter 2: Liudmila Gurchenko: Stardom in the Late Soviet Era (Rimgaila Salys); Chapter 3: Nina Ruslanova: Traversing the Spaces of Late Socialism (Tom Roberts); Part II. Genre as Device in Mainstream Cinema; Chapter 4: Femininity, Patriarchality, and Anti-Stalinism in Vladimir Chebotarev’s Wild Honey (Tatiana Mikhailova); Chapter 5: Melodrama’s Womanly Face: Femininity Redefined in the Soviet Cinema of the Late 1960s-early 1970s (Natalia Klimova); Chapter 6: A Laughing Matter: El’dar Ryazanov and the Subversion of Soviet Gender in Russian Comedy (Michele Leigh); Part III. New Soviet Wave Cinema and Auteurism; Chapter 7: Marlen Khutsiev’s July Rain, Cultural Liberation, and a New Soviet Woman (Tim Harte); Chapter 8: "What Can Be Done about It—I’m a Woman, not a Pet." The Non-Heroic Heroines in Romm’s Nine Days of One Year and Shepit’ko’s You and Me (Marina Rojavin); Chapter 9: Gender, Sex, and the Fantasy of the Non-Expressive in Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates (Justin Weir); Index


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Marina Rojavin is teaching at Bryn Mawr College. Some of her scholarly interests are Russian intellectuals in Imperial Russia and Russian intelligentsia, women, and character archetypes in Soviet cinema of 1960s–1980s. Her most recent publication is the textbook Russian for Advanced Students (2013) completed with her colleagues.

Tim Harte is an associate professor of Russian at Bryn Mawr College. He is author of Fast Forward: The Aesthetics and Ideology of Speed in Russian Avant-Garde Culture, 1910–1930 (2009) as well as various articles on twentieth-century Russian literature and film.


‘Critics and viewers typically perceive the cinema of the late Soviet period as dominated by male stars, male directors, and the male gaze. Women in Soviet Film complicates this perspective by revealing the "womanly face" of Thaw and Stagnation cinema. Defying expectations, a gendered critique of Soviet (and especially late Soviet) patriarchality in the cinema of the 1960-70s appears to be more profound and more disquieting than in the following, much more liberal times. Most paradoxically, as the volume’s authors eloquently demonstrate, this deconstruction was performed from within popular cinematic genres, in mainstream films and by beloved stars. This hidden streak of gendered subversion within mainstream Soviet cinema, is a true discovery superbly presented by this collection of articles.’ - Mark Lipovetsky, Professor of Russian Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder