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Soviet Tableau: Cinema and History under Late Socialism (1953-1985)

Kim, Olga (2019) Soviet Tableau: Cinema and History under Late Socialism (1953-1985). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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During the Late Socialism (1953-1985), the geographic peripheries of the Soviet film industry demonstrated an upsurge in both the number of the produced films and in the boldness of the cinematic experimentations. This dissertation focuses on the peculiar cinematic trend that emerged in this context of the artistic reinvigoration of the Soviet periphery. In particular, I analyze films of Iurii Illienko, Leonid Osyka, Evgenii Shiffers, Tengiz Abuladze, and Sergei Parajanov.
I propose that the films of these filmmakers exemplify a distinct cinematic trend and label this trend tableau cinema for two reasons: first, to avoid overgeneralization and homogenization of the commonly used term “poetic” cinema; second, to emphasize the predominance of a static painterly quality and integrate my analysis into a broader tradition of visual arts (Chapter 1).
The central stylistic feature shared by the tableau films is their avoidance of linear perspective and kinship with non-perspectival painterly traditions, such as Persian miniatures or Orthodox icons. I argue that this stylistic feature is related to tableau cinema’s transformation of spectatorship (Chapter 2) and rejection of (Soviet) modernity’s insistence on historical progression, which are underpinned by linear perspective and reinforced by conventional use of cinema (Chapter 3).
This dissertation demonstrates that tableau cinema created, by cinematic means, alternative histories to the evidently fragile project of Soviet modernity. In doing so, the filmmakers on the peripheries revive the genealogy of the “primitive” in Russian and Soviet cultural history. Unlike the future-oriented invocation of the “primitive” in the post-revolutionary cinemas, in tableau cinema the invocation of the “primitive” is oriented toward the rethinking of the past and the redefining of the cinematic medium itself. In this sense, the dissertation proposes to consider tableau cinema as a case of Socialist Modernism (Chapter 4).
By investigating the history and aesthetics of the tableau cinema, this dissertation contributes to the largely understudied field of Soviet ethno-national cinemas and makes a theoretical contribution to rethinking the long-standing opposition between the (Greenbergian) modernism and (Lukácsian) realism in the twentieth-century art.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kim, Olgaolk11@pitt.eduolk11
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCondee, Nancy/NCcondee@pitt.educondee
Committee MemberBirnbaum, David/DBdjbpitt@pitt.edudjbpitt
Committee MemberHalle, RandallRHALLE@pitt.eduRHALLE
Committee MemberLandy, Marciamlandy@pitt.edumlandy
Committee MemberMajumdar, Neepanmajumda@pitt.edunmajumda
Committee MemberMorgan,
Committee MemberPadunov, Vladimirpadunov@pitt.edupadunov
Date: 26 September 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 May 2019
Approval Date: 26 September 2019
Submission Date: 6 August 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 198
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Film Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: modernism, art cinema, late soviet, primitivism, Parajanov, national cinema
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2019 14:36
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2019 14:36

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