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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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Kira Muratova: The Zoological Imperium

Kira Muratova: The Zoological Imperium

(p.115) 4 Kira Muratova: The Zoological Imperium
The Imperial Trace

Condee Nancy

Oxford University Press

Muratova’s cheerful skepticism toward collectivity sets the stakes high, disallowing not only higher-order social belonging, but also the “commanding heights” of the human as such. Dismantling boundaries that divide humans from animals, living from nonliving, organic from inorganic, her cinema’s only meaningful boundary is that of the film itself, capacious enough to accommodate her playful, indulgent domination. Any effort to marshal “lofty utterances,” as Soviet cinema bureaucrats had historically urged upon her work, becomes fodder for mock schemas of a coercive civilization fettered by brutal norms and fueled by demonic optimism. Her egalitarianism and refusal of imposed collectivity allows her to set the only functioning limits to behavior as the formal limits of cinema, a mock-Soviet play space for the feral mammals who are her actors. In this sense, Muratova’s cinema functions as a kind of a game preserve within which her characters roam freely, innocent of knowledge that they belong together.

Keywords:   Kira Muratova, provincial melodramas, art house, art film

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