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The Sad Comedy of El'dar Riazanov An Introduction to Russia's Most Popular Filmmaker by David MacFadyen

The Sad Comedy of El'dar Riazanov An Introduction to Russia's Most Popular Filmmaker


The Sad Comedy of El'dar Riazanov An Introduction to Russia's Most Popular Filmmaker by David MacFadyen

A detailed look at the work of Russia


This is a thorough, pioneering introduction to ldar Riazanov. MacFadyen challenges the Cold War oppositions of state vs entertainment, dogma vs dissidence, and public vs private that have dominated Western academic discussion of Soviet and post-Soviet art and media, elucidating their much more complex emotional and psychological structure in the light of post-Freudian French analysis. He also provides an overview of Riazanov's work that allows readers to place each film within its own historical framework and which situates the filmmaker within the context of Soviet-Russian cinema. Christina Stojanova, Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Toronto David MacFadyens work here is much more than an introduction to the oeuvre of this artist and showman. MacFadyen traces the interplay between subjective, lived life and the public rhetoric of the State. A close reading of more than a dozen films is informed by a tightly-argued deployment of psychoanalytic and postmodern ideas. The scholarship is exemplary. The writer draws widely on primary sources, almost all in Russian, comprising excerpts from the press and other media, specialized magazines, theoretical works, official statements, government edicts, etc. Equally importantly, his excerpts are shrewdly deployed to clarify the often highly-nuanced understanding between the official culture and its practitioners in the field. This is an important contribution to research. Patrick MacFadden, School for Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University

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Book Info

Publication date

14th October 2003


David MacFadyen

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McGill-Queen's University Press


296 pages


Individual film directors, film-makers



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