Download Communism with Its Clothes Off: Eastern European Film Comedy by Lilla Toke PDF

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By Lilla Toke

The dissertation examines the legacies of gruesome comedy within the cinemas of
Eastern Europe. absolutely the non-seriousness that characterised ugly realism
became a winning and comparatively secure solution to speak about the absurdities and the mess ups
of the communist method. Thismodality, even though, wasnot particular tothe communist
era yet stretchedback to the Austro-Hungarian period and ahead into the Postcommunist
times. The research explores how movie comedyprovided a moment, carnivalesque world
that reflected legitimate tradition in a gruesome means and ridiculed it, and as such those
comediesindicated the failure of the Grand Narrative of Communism. the flicks
constituted a much-needed substitute public sphere, the place the controversies and
absurdities within the dominant social constructions may emerge in a severe mild. They
demystified the workings of country communism in vital methods: first,they printed
that ideological and fabric truth wereincongruous and sometimes contradictory and that
the phantasm of ideological fact was once forcefully maintained via language. Secondly,
the movies disclosed that the communist state’s biopolitics used to be eventually unsuccessful
since it didn't totally combine the participants into its ideological undertaking and as a substitute
encouraged a selected “doublethink”to emerge (where humans concurrently authorized
and defied communist keep an eye on over their bodies). finally, in its carnivalesque
representations,Eastern ecu cinema played an enormous counter-cultural
function that commented at the very ontology of latest socialism: the movies pointed to
an irreconcilable contradiction among communist ideology and fabric fact that
would eventually bring about the system’s death in addition to the state’s competitive makes an attempt
and mess ups to interpellate its topics absolutely and effectively.

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Extra resources for Communism with Its Clothes Off: Eastern European Film Comedy and the Grotesque

Example text

In a top down fashion, everybody is assigned a function in the social ritual of the celebration. The meticulously long debates about specific song and dance arrangements, the deliberations about the exact quality and meaning of each performance, the decisions about the right interpretation and the adequate tone for each song all underpin the importance of linguistic reification in the official rituals. Because these rituals have no organic tie to the subjects who perform them, the discursive practices have to be forceful in order to maintain the sense of reality on the boat.

The ball as an official ritual collapses but the breakdown opens space for a truly transgressive carnival of celebration. The raffle, a central component of the festivity, carries an allegorical weight in the movie. When Josef (Josef Kolb), the fireman who is responsible for organizing the raffle, discovers the disappearance of the items, he first accuses his colleagues of theft and later goes into a desperate reasoning to defend himself and to justify the loss. His crazy chain of reasoning employs a frantic logic to solve the mystery for a moment—until a colleague points out that either way there is nothing left on the table.

But the film exposes his lies and deceptions, and a grim and depressing reality emerges from under the picture perfect surface. Ryszard’s web of lies is built on top of a broken reality characterized by food lines, by dysfunctional bureaucracy, by corruption, by lack of working morale, by food shortage, by thriving black markets, and by utter poverty. The façade that he creates is a carnivalesque mask that hides the dysfunctional, broken, and ugly reality. 51 The ongoing debate around the word “tradition” is essential to understanding the dissolved link between the signified and the signifier in the film.

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