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This paper examines the development of neorealist tendencies in the oeuvre of contemporary Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalnina. Her work is positioned within the global dissemination of cinematic neorealism, and its local manifestations, which, it is argued, develop in specific national contexts in reaction to dramatic societal and political changes. Pakalniņa’s films are examined as a documentation of the change from a communist satellite state to an independent democratic, capitalist country. Heavily influenced by the Riga School of Poetic Documentary, a movement in Latvian cinema that adhered to the conventions of poetic documentary filmmaking, the article analyses how her films replicate and further develop the stylistic and aesthetic devices of the Italian neorealists and the succeeding cinematic new waves. In doing so the argument is put forth that Pakalnina has developed neorealism Latvian style.
Theoretical and analytical considerations around the development of transmedia projects are evolving, but are still widely open, probably because transmedia storytelling is a relatively new subject that does not yet have its own specific methods and methodology of analysis. Moreover, transmedia projects are complex phenomena involving multiple dimensions, such as narrative, cultural context, marketing, business models, and legal framework. Currently, the usual approach gives place to methodologically separate analytical perspectives related to some of these dimensions. This article first discusses the elusive concept of transmedia storytelling and later presents analytical considerations outlining relevant aspects that can contribute to perceive the process of developing transmedia projects. The significance of these discussions is to address essential features of the design process behind transmedia projects and contribute to support the analytic needs of transmedia designers and the applied research in the interest of the media industry.
The traumas of the twentieth century affected the development of trauma narrative in literature and cinema. Much of the trauma theory in different disciplines developed largely from the Holocaust literature as well as from gender-based violence. The criticism of many examples in contemporary trauma theory has been that they are applicable only to Western countries and do not take into account the difficult transitions between the non-Western and Western world. The countries that had gone through a brutal occupation of the Soviet Union also experienced the trauma of transformation, as whole societies turned into post-Soviet nations next to the developed Nordic/ Western states. This article will examine the representations of trauma in Sofi Oksanen’s fictional narrative Purge (Puhdistus, 2008) and Lukas Moodysson’s cinematic narrative Lilya 4-Ever (Lilja 4-ever, Sweden/Denmark, 2002) and off er an analysis of the trauma of transitions in the borderland between the post-Soviet and Nordic countries. Both Oksanen and Moodysson, as observers from the Nordic countries (Finland and Sweden respectively), have chosen to depict the post-Soviet trauma through a female body which is trapped in forced prostitution in Western Europe or Scandinavia and her emotions and reactions to her trauma. This article will argue that both authors contribute to the post-Cold War discourse that discusses the cultural borders between “East” and “West”, presenting a trauma of globalisation, drawing attention to unspoken subjects, but also contributing to the existing views of post- Soviet spaces as ruined and traumatising.
This article provides a survey of Soviet animation and analyses the thematic and stylistic course of its development. Soviet animated film emerged and materialised in synch with the fluctuations of the region’s political climate and was directly shaped by it. A number of trends and currents of Soviet animation also pertain to other Eastern European countries. After all, Eastern Europe constituted an integrated cultural space that functioned as a single market for the films produced across it by filmmakers who interacted in a professional regional network of film education, events, festivals, publications etc.
Initially experimental, post-revolutionary Russian animation soon fell under the sway of the Socialist Realist discourse, along with the rest of Soviet art, and quickly crystallised as a didactic genre for children. Disney’s paradigm became its major source of inspiration both in terms of visual style and thematic scope, despite the fact that Soviet Union was regarded as the ideological opposite of the Western way of life and mindset. The Soviet animation industry was spread across different studios and republics that adopted slightly varied production practices and tolerated different degrees of artistic freedom. Studios in the smaller republics, such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in particular, stood out for making films that were more ideologically complicated than those produced in Moscow.
This article looks at What Happened to Andres Lapeteus? (Mis juhtus Andres Lapeteusega, Estonia, 1966), a film that marked the directing debut of Russian-Estonian theatre and film director Grigori Kromanov, as a cinematographic narrative that follows the development of a homo sovieticus. The concept of homo sovieticus, initially simply an ironic reference to the “New Soviet Man” promoted in the official Soviet vocabulary, was elaborated in the 1980s and 1990s by several thinkers and writers from Eastern Europe into a concept allowing for a more analytical description of the bureaucratic human type that developed under the Soviet regime. The German- American philosopher Hannah Arendt in her renowned The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) found that the juridical, the moral, and the individual in a man could most effectively be killed in concentration camps. The Russian philosopher Aleksandr Zinoviev and the Polish philosopher Józef Tischner, however, have seen the homo sovieticus syndrome as resulting from spiritual rather than physical imprisonment. Predisposed by the planned Soviet economy, which did not motivate Soviet people to make any creative, intellectual, or moral efforts, homo sovieticus soon started to represent a certain official ritualistic behaviour that maintained the symbolic legitimacy of power.
What Happened to Andres Lapeteus? tells the story of an ambitious young Estonian official during Stalinist and post-Stalinist years, but does it in a novel way for its time, tackling the popular criticism of the cult of personality in the Thaw era from the viewpoint of individual responsibility. Offering a charismatic black-and-white version of the novel The Case of Andres Lapeteus (Andres Lapeteuse juhtum, 1963) by the Estonian writer Paul Kuusberg, Kromanov’s new wave film still makes us ponder the often avoided and delicate issue of the Sovietisation of the Baltic states from the inside.
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