Russian Screen Responses to the Pandemic

Keywords: Timur Bekmambetov, Semen Slepakov, Russia, #SidIAdoma, The Plague!, Cursed Days, In Lockdown, Screenlife, Quarantine, Pandemic, series, streaming services.

Abstract

More than a dozen Covid-19 era TV series were produced and distributed on Russian subscription streaming services. In this paper, I examine four different series made under quarantine conditions that illustrate competing regimes for viewers’ pleasure and pedagogy. These low-budget productions acknowledge the coronavirus as a context but replace the fear, panic, and anxiety of outbreak narratives with comic domestic foibles of life under quarantine. They embody the ‘feast during the plague’ syndrome that ignores the mortal consequences of the disease and celebrates a gallows humour. These were the first ‘screenlife’ serials to be produced as a methodological approach to solve a range of production proximity restrictions and in turn their aesthetics is one of intimacy and authenticity.

Image: Screenshot of #СидЯдома  (Ol'ga Frenkel', #SidIAdoma 2020)

Author Biography

Greg Dolgopolov, University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia
Dr Greg Dolgopolov teaches and researches at UNSW in video production, film festivals and film theory and literacy. His research interests include film festivals, short films, film distribution, Australian and post-Soviet cinema and the crime genre. He has written extensively on historical television detective serials, reality game shows and more. His research has been published in Social Semiotics, Senses of Cinema, Metro, Lumina, Real Time and Kinokultura. Greg is a documentary and drama filmmaker. The Really True History of the Ned Kelly Gang (2019) appeared at the Vladivostok International Film Festival. Greg is the artistic director of the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival (2013 - ), Short+Sweet Film Festival (2017 - ), the Russian Resurrection Film Festival (2008 - ) and the internationally touring Best of Australian Shorts Festival.
Published
2021-04-26
How to Cite
Dolgopolov, G. (2021). Russian Screen Responses to the Pandemic. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, (12). https://doi.org/10.17892/app.2020.000111.249
Section
Articles: Pandemic Cinema in Central and Eastern Europe