The Representation of Fear in Contemporary Russian Cinema:the Fear of Everyday Life

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 14 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Liubov BRONZINO, Peoples's Friendship University of Russia, Russia, Peoples' Friendship University of Russian, Russia

States of fear and anxiety are often typical and common representations of consciousness in contemporary Russian society. Studies conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center have found that fear, as experienced by Russians, is associated with feelings of uncertainty.

We have hypothesized that the fears of Russians should naturally manifest themselves in popular culture and cinema in particular. This seems to be especially true regarding one of the most recently acclaimed films released in 2014, Leviathan, by Andrei Zvyagintsev (film won the award for best screenplay at the 67th Cannes Film Festival, and was the only Russian winner at the Golden Globes). These circumstances determined the choice of this film specifically for the discourse analysis concerned with the study of fear in modern Russian life. The aim of this study was to define this anxiety in a concrete way, and analyze its manifestations in cinematic material.

During the study, the use of discourse analysis was implemented on three levels: these were textual, contextual and interpretive with an on-going process of interconnection found between each of the levels.
On the textual level of the analysis certain concepts were discussed, specifically the concepts concerning identity. At the contextual level various references were made concerning how the symbolic systems outside of the film were recorded. The interpretative level of discourse analysis involves the study of the frame of reference chosen by the director.

As a result, some overall conclusions can be drawn about the nature of fear. Namely, these are the fears associated with the wellbeing of loved ones, the fear of betrayal, and the fear of those in positions of authority. Another special kind of fear was also identified: so-called "fear of everyday life", that is the fear of the unchanging dull monotony of the routine in daily life.