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Adelaide McGinity-Peebles (Manchester)

Imaging the Russian Heartlands: The Representation of the Provinces in Russian Film, 2003-present

Adelaide Mcginity-Peebles

Supervisors: Professor Stephen Hutchings, Professor Vera Tolz

My research will analyse the representation of the provinces in a large corpus of Russian films produced between 2003 and the present. Since 2003, the provinces have been a discernible focus of Russian films, both visually and thematically. However, scholarship on the role of the provinces in recent Russian cinema has so far been incidental or specific to individual films.

In my thesis, I will examine how recent Russian films overlap and differ in their representations of both the visual landscape of the provinces, and aspects of provincial life. Synthesising the visual and the thematic, I will explore how these films form, perpetuate and challenge discourses of individual and collective identities. This is particularly noteworthy in the context of increased censorship across the arts and media since President Putin’s third term in 2012. 

The primary sources I will include are films by Bykov, Fedorchenko, Khlebnikov, Konchalovsky, Meshchaninova, Nikonova, Popogrebsky, Sigarev, Sidorov and Zviagintsev. My theoretical framework will draw on the geographical and geopolitical dimensions of the Russian cultural imagination and in particular, the concept of provinciality and its role in national identity construction. This thesis is necessarily multidisciplinary: I will utilise both a postcolonial approach to Russia’s centre-periphery relations and trauma theory, which is highly pertinent to this research given the sudden, traumatic nature of the dissolution of the USSR.