Recommend to your Librarian

Request a Review Copy

Contemporary Russian Cinema

Symbols of a New Era

Vlad Strukov

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Explores the symbolic mode in relation to contemporary Russian film

One of the first books to explore Russian cinema in the new millennium, this volume captures the emergence of a new cinematic sensibility and interprets it through the framework of the symbolic mode. Analysing films by established directors such as Sokurov, Zviagintsev and Zel’dovich, as well as lesser-known filmmakers like Balabanov, Fedorchenko and Kalatozishvili, Contemporary Russian Cinema: Symbols of a New Era explores the particular style of film presentation that has emerged in Russia since 2000, characterised by its use of highly abstract concepts and visual language. Whether directed towards a mystical world, or even towards an afterlife, the symbolic mode defines the emergence of a specific mindscape which has escaped previous representational forms and is intrinsically linked to Russia’s dramatic political and economic development since the turn of the 21st century.

Show more


Chapter 1: Abstracted Subjectivity and Knowledge-Worlds: Aleksandr Sokurov’s Taurus (2001)
Chapter 2: The Lacking Sense of Cinema: Aleksandr Proshkin’s The Miracle (2009)
Chapter 3: Gatekeepers of (Non-)Knowledge: Aleksei Balabanov’s Morphine (2008)
Chapter 4: Symbolic Folds and Flattened Discourse: Andrei Zviagintsev’s Elena (2010)
Chapter 5: Non-Knowledge and the Symbolic Mode: Nikolai Khomeriki’s A Tale About Darkness (2009)
Chapter 6: The World and the Event: Kirill Serebrennikov’s St. George’s Day (2008)
Chapter 7: A Plea for the Dead (Self): Renata Litvinova’s Goddess: How I Fell in Love (2004)
Chapter 8: Body in Crisis and Posthumous Subjectivity: Igor’ Voloshin’s Nirvana (2008)
Chapter 9: The Difficulty of Being Dead: Aleksandr Veledinskii’s Alive (2006)
Chapter 10: Intentionality and Modelled Subjectivities: Aleksei Fedorchenko’s Silent Souls (2010)
Chapter 11: Abandoned Being: Mikhail Kalatozishvili’s The Wild Field (2008)
Chapter 12: Conclusions: Amplifications of Subjectivity: Aleksandr Zel’dovich’s The Target (2010)

About the Author

Vlad Strukov is Associate Professor at the University of Leeds, specialising in world cinemas, digital media and cultural theory


Pioneering and original, this book brings contemporary theory to the study of modern Russian film and brings recent Russian film to the attention of cultural theorists. Full of penetrating and exciting insights, it deepens our understanding of how contemporary Russian authorial cinema works and reminds us why it is important.

Prof Julian Graffy, UCL


Strukov's book is unique by its combination of outstanding theoretical vision and incredible attention to filmic texture. Through the theoretically innovative concept of the symbolic mode, the book explores the transformations in the epistemology of Russian film and the story of making and unmaking of new subjectivities called to life by the historical shifts of the last decade.

Mark Lipovetsky, University of Colorado, Boulder