The end of the Soviet era opened a period of financial distress and artistic disorientation in the film industry. The transition to the free market was too abrupt; price liberalization, privatization, the collapse of the centralized system of production and distribution, the deterioration
of the studios, inadequate law enforcement to guarantee copyright, rampant video piracy, and the general decline of disposable income among the population combined to push film production down to an alarming low. The films of shock capitalism do not easily fall into a trend or a movement.
Many reassess the past, placing different spins on various epochs and figures according to the director's ideological orientation. Others reflect the reality of the present day, either in dramatic or grotesque form. Still others offer escapism into imaginary worlds. About 50 films are surveyed
here. They vary in production values and intellectual level, but each is a document of the specific time and place in which it was produced. Each film, therefore, is relevant as a cultural product of this bizarre Russian fin de sicle.
Jul 1, 2002