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Title: 'Air-mindedness' and Air Parades : images of flight and aviation and their relation to Soviet identity in Soviet film 1926-1945
Author: Veal, C. L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 0104
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Taking Soviet films from 1926 to 1945 as its frame of reference, this thesis seeks to answer the question: is autonomous voicing possible in film during a period defined by Stalin’s concentration of power and his authoritarian influence on the arts? Aviation and flight imaging in these films shares characteristics of language, and the examination of the use of aviation and flight as an expressive means reveals nuances in messaging which go beyond the official demand of Soviet Socialist Realism to show life in its revolutionary movement towards socialism. Reviewing the films chronologically, it is shown how they are unified by a metaphor of ‘gaining wings’. In filmic representations of air-shows, Arctic flights, aviation schools, aviation circus-acts, and aircraft invention, the Soviet peoples’ identity in the 1930s became constructed as being metaphorically ‘winged’. This metaphor links to the fundamental Icarian precursor myth and, in turn, speaks to sub-structuring semantic spheres of freedom, transformation, creativity, love and transcendence. Air-parade film communicates symbolically, but refers to real events; like an icon, it visualizes the word of Stalinist-Leninist scriptures. Piloted by heroic ‘falcons’, Soviet destiny was perceived to be a miraculous ‘flight’ which realised the political and technological dreams of centuries. But aviation and cinematographic flights communicate multi-valently, beyond that of the ideological dominant. Film based on the myth of the ‘Russian Icarus’ points to the possibility of the Revolution as an Icarian flight perceived as a fall in Stalin’s time. Cinematographic flights, both actual and metaphorical, can be communicated on levels of psychology, cinema-philosophy and allegory, and ‘gaining wings’ is a universal metaphor for self-expansion in love, creative work and gaining knowledge. The expressive use of flight and aviation may have been directed towards the communication of a ‘bright’ socialist future, but this thesis shows its communication of Soviet identity is more complex.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available