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Inside Soviet Film Satire: Laughter with a Lash is a lively collection of sixteen original essays by Soviet, American, and Canadian scholars and film commentators. It is the first in-depth examination of an important genre within the Soviet film tradition. From its origins, humor and satire have been closely linked in Soviet cinema. Nowhere in this tradition is there the pure comic genre typified in the West in films by Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton; by contrast, Soviet comedy can best be described as "laughter with a lash." Films made during the early years of the communist regime depicted characters and situations at a moment when the promise of socialism had yet to be realized. By the final years of totalitarian rule, filmmakers had found ways to create satirical films that powerfully indicted communism itself.
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction; Part I. The Long View: Soviet Satire in Context: 1. Soviet film satire yesterday and today; 2. A Russian Munchausen: Aesopian translation; 3. 'We don't know what to laugh at': comedy and satire in Soviet cinema; 4. An ambivalent NEP satire of bourgeois aspirations: A Kiss of Mary Pickford; 5. Closely watched drains: notes by a dilettante on the Soviet absurdist film; Part II. Middle Distance Shots: 6. A subtextual reading of Kuleshov's satire, The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr West in the Land of the Bolsheviks; 7. The strange case of the making of Volga Volga; 8. Circus of 1936: ideology and entertainment under the big top; 9. Laughter beyond the mirror: humour and satire in the cinema?; 10. The films of Eldar Shengelaya: from subtle humour to biting satire; Part III. Close Ups On Glasnost and Satire: 11. A forgotten melody: Ryzanov and remembered popular traditions; 12. Perestroika of Kitsch: Vladimir Soloviev's Black Rose, Red Rose; 13. Carnivals bright, dark and grotesque in the Glasnost satires of Mamin, Mustafayev and Shaknazarov; 14. Quick takes on Yuri Mamin's The Fountain from the perspective of a Rumanian childhood; 15. 'One should begin with zero': a discussion with Yuri Mamin; Contributors; Filmography; Index.