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From the Poetry of Late Socialism to the Dogmatism of Democracy: The Cinema of the Former Eastern Bloc before and after the Collapse of Communism

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Using the examples of two films from the late socialist era, Roman Balayan’s Flights in Dream and Reality (1982) and Mircea Daneliuc’s Glissando (1982) and following Alexei Yurchak’s description of vnye as “deterritorialized milieus,” I plan to show how the entirety of the cultural space of late socialism amounted to what Foucault would term a heterotopic place featuring both simultaneity and juxtaposition. Finally, by further comparing this space to that created in the nonlinear postmodern era by Sergey Loznitsa in his documentary film Donbass, I will attempt to show that this cultural space, and by extension, the affective space of socialism right down to the everyday lives of the “masses,” unlike the totalitarian universe it is nowadays made out to appear, presented the early features of the very intermediality, non-linearity, and non-topicality we are celebrating in post-meta-narrative art cinema of the early 2000s. A home-bred version of magic realism, this Eastern European postmodern space should serve, due to its cohesive yet disparate nature, as a model of sorts for reconceptualizing contemporary views of post-narrative, transnational and, to employ Foucault’s powerful term, heterotopic media.

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