Orphans of the East

Orphans of the East : Postwar Eastern European Cinema and the Revolutionary Subject

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Unlike the benevolent orphan found in Charlie Chaplin's The Kid or the sentimentalized figure of Little Orphan Annie, the orphan in postwar Eastern European cinema takes on a more politically fraught role, embodying the tensions of individuals struggling to recover from war and grappling with an unknown future under Soviet rule. By exploring films produced in postwar Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Poland, Parvulescu traces the way in which cinema envisioned and debated the condition of the post-World War II subject and the "new man" of Soviet-style communism. In these films, the orphan becomes a cinematic trope that interrogates socialist visions of ideological institutionalization and re-education and stands as a silent critic of the system's shortcomings or as a resilient spirit who has resisted capture by the political apparatus of the new state.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 198 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 12.7mm | 294.83g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 16 b&w illus.
  • 0253016851
  • 9780253016850
  • 2,034,645

Review quote

[This book] is a complex, competent, and engagingly written interdisciplinary book bringing together history, cultural and political theory, and film analysis. It should be of considerable interest to a wide range of scholars and students of Europena cinema, history, and cultural studies. * Slavic Review * Parvulescu skillfully uses his examples to explore how ideologies of socialist identity strategies changed over time. Although largely unconcerned with the audio-visual dimensions of the films, the author provides bracing discussions, offering significant insights into the characters and plots as well as the political circumstances to which the narratives responded. . . . Highly recommended. * Choice * Parvulescu's broad synoptic reading of films from different Eastern European countries, referring to films that are often hard to see in the West, has the great merit of addressing larger sociological questions about film under socialism that can get lost in more narrowly focused approaches concentrating only on filmic poetics or on the history of everyday life. * Studies in Eastern European Cinema *show more

About Constantin Parvulescu

Constantin Parvulescu is Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society at University of Navarra, Spain. He is editor (with Robert A. Rosenstone) of A Companion to the Historical Film.show more

Table of contents

Introduction: The Socialist Experience and Beyond1. Creatures of the Event: Subject Production in the Reconstruction Era2. Producing Revolutionary Consciousness in the Times of Radical Socialism3. The Testifying Orphan: Rethinking Modernity's Optimism4. Children of the Revolution: The Rebirth of the Subject in Revisionist Discourse5. The Family of Victims: Stalinism Revisited in the 1980sEpilogue: The Abandoned Offspring of Late SocialismNotesWorks CitedIndexshow more