THE BITTER SMILE OF YURI GAGARIN, OR HOW RUSSIAN CINEMA CRACKS DOWN ONE SOVIET MYTH
The aim of the article is to analyze two post-Soviet movies, Dreaming of Space (2005, dir. Aleksei Utchitiel) and Paper Soldier (2008, dir. Aleksei German jr.) in the context of the Russian nostalgia for the life in the USSR. The idea of Soviet cosmonautics is linked to the philosophical system of cosmism but the main emphasis is put on the mythical status of Yuri Gagarin, who is the only entirely positive hero from the Soviet past left in Russian collective consciousness. The two movies are interpreted as counterarguments within the debates on the symbolical realm in contemporary culture and politics in Russia. They show the dark points of the struggle for supremacy in space during the thaw, which are: the military background of the space program, the ubiquitous presence of the repression system despite de-Stalinisation, and the utopian dimension of the ideology of socialism.
Translated by Paulina Gorlewska