Envisioning the City: Moscow in the Mind and on Film 公开

Laurila, Haley Jo (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/fx719n34g?locale=zh


The city in Ilya Khrzhanovsky's film 4 (2005) is bleak, desolate, and often horrifyingly bizarre. The streets are empty; the city is devoid of life and characterized by nightmarish imagery. It is virtually unrecognizable as the iconic capital of Russia, Moscow, and yet the disturbing imagery in Khrzhanovsky's film is part of a trend in the portrayal of the city in post-Soviet cinema. The city becomes a space where the trauma of post-Soviet life manifests most readily. In order to come to an understanding of this bleak and traumatized vision of the city, it is necessary to look to past visions of Moscow. Yet there is no one correct approach to examining the city: the city is constantly changing and therefore difficult to define in any stable or lasting terms. Additionally, the 'real' city is not a collection of buildings, streets, and architecture, and it cannot be located on a map. The 'real' city can be found in the mind, in our imagination, memory, and other mental processes. Such an eclectic approach is justified because of the eclectic nature of the city. in order to come to an even tentative understanding of Moscow, it is necessary to locate the intersections of the mind and the city, and one of the most fruitful mediums through which to accomplish this task is film. This thesis examines the representations of the city in five films: Aleksandr Medvedkin's New Moscow (1938), Marlen Khutsiev's I Am Twenty (1965), Yuri Norstein's Tale of Tales (1979), Timur Bekmambetov's Night Watch (2004), and Ilya Khrzhanovsky's 4 (2005). Taken together, these films constitute a history of the city, which is simultaneously a history of trauma.

Table of Contents

Introduction - The Real Moscow 1

Chapter 1 - The Comedy of Dreams: Aleksandr Medvedkin's New Moscow 24

Chapter 2 - Poetry and the City: The Flaneur in Marlen Khutsiev's I Am Twenty 46

Chapter 3 - The Remembered City: Memory in Yuri Norstein's Tale of Tales 69

Chapter 4 - Fantasy and the City: Post-Apocalyptic Moscow in

Timur Bekmambetov's Night Watch 89

Conclusion - Moscow, City of the Void 108

Works Cited 125

Filmography 129

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