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The Imperial TraceRecent Russian Cinema$
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Nancy Condee

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195366761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195366761.001.0001

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Introduction: Custodian of the Empire

Introduction: Custodian of the Empire

(p.3) 1 Introduction: Custodian of the Empire
The Imperial Trace

Condee Nancy

Oxford University Press

Chapter One summarizes the volume’s two intertwined projects: first, an investigation of work by Russia’s six major filmmakers who—in the context of the Soviet empire’s collapse—sustained work in a radically redefined professional environment. Nikita Mikhalkov, Kira Muratova, Vadim Abdrashitov, Aleksandr Sokurov, Aleksei German, and Aleksei Balabanov are arguably Russia’s lead directors of the last quarter-century. The six comprise a critical continuum from late Soviet to post-Soviet cinema. Second, through individual chapters on these filmmakers, the volume addresses its larger, more speculative issue: how Russia’s cultural environment, a space historically shaped over four-and-a-half centuries by the practices of empire, might figure in the directors’ work, both imaginatively and logistically, in ways we have not yet fully conceptualized. Turning to debates on nation in Gellner and Anderson, as well as on Russia’s imperial legacy, state engagement, and attenuated nationhood in Hosking, Beissinger, Suny, and Martin, the introduction principally frames the theoretical issues variously pursued in later chapters.

Keywords:   Russian cinema, Soviet film, imperial, nation, post-Soviet, Geoffrey Hosking, Edward Said, Benedict Anderson, postcolonial theory

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