Reading Other People’s Letters in the 1970s: Reconstructing Soviet Spectatorship in Il’i͡a Averbakh’s Other People’s Letters (1975)

in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
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This paper studies audiences’ responses, published in the Soviet press of the 1970s, to Il’i͡a Averbakh’s 1975 film Other People’s Letters. Averbakh’s film was made in the context of a stiffening ideological situation in the country, on the one hand, and the commercialization of Soviet cinema, on the other hand. Young and adult viewers reacted to the film differently and recreated their own messages, in accordance to their position in the power structure. As it is evident from the analysis of film reviews and letters to the editors, regarding Other People’s Letters, the prevailing spectatorial position during the Brezhnev years was “negotiating,” thus continuing the tradition of the Thaw culture. It allowed Soviet viewers to discuss some unconventional questions, while still limiting their ability to openly talk about some other taboo topics. The negotiating position was challenged and manipulated by viewers who were associated with authoritative, official discourse.

Reading Other People’s Letters in the 1970s: Reconstructing Soviet Spectatorship in Il’i͡a Averbakh’s Other People’s Letters (1975)

in The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

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11)

Since its establishment in 1925Sovetskiĭ ėkran appeared sporadically constantly changing its name. The journal was not published between 1941 and 1957. Since July 1959 Sovetskiĭ ėkran was published under the administration of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR and the Union of Workers in Cinematography. Later in January 1966 it became a part of the State Committee on Cinematography of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and of the Cinematographers’ Union of the USSR.

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