Notes on Sincerity in Russian Auteur Cinema of the 2010s
Keywords:Russian contemporary film, sincerity, auteur cinema, cinematic realism, emotion
The notion of sincerity is well-established in Western film theory to describe a certain style of filmmaking, but in Russia this tendency has only recently become manifest. The point of departure of this essay is to examine the discursive uses of the concept of sincerity in regard to films by three young Russian directors: Oksana Bychkova’s Eshche odin god / Another Year (2014), Nigina Saifullaeva’s Kak menia zovut / Name Me (2014), and Natalia Meshchaninova’s Kombinat “Nadezhda”/ The Hope Factory. Although grouped together with the so-called new wave of auteur cinema (“novaia rezhisserskaia volna”), these directors’ position vis-à-vis their predecessors as well as contemporaries both in Russia and the West defies easy classification. The analysis undertaken here offers insights into how the filmmakers go about expressing their generation’s social and emotional preoccupations honestly and realistically. The analysis also underscores the differently shared stylistic, narrative, and thematic elements they deploy throughout the films. Sincerity in this sense can be said to return not only as a discursive phenomenon but also as a variable performative cultural practice. The different ways each film strives to provoke an affective response in viewers justify classifying such aesthetic tactics as sincere.
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