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The Filmmaker's PhilosopherMerab Mamardashvili and Russian Cinema$
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Alyssa DeBlasio

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474444484

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444484.001.0001

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Alexei Balabanov’s The Castle (1994) and Me Too (2012): Kafka, the Absurd, and the Death of Form

Alexei Balabanov’s The Castle (1994) and Me Too (2012): Kafka, the Absurd, and the Death of Form

(p.100) Chapter 4 Alexei Balabanov’s The Castle (1994) and Me Too (2012): Kafka, the Absurd, and the Death of Form
The Filmmaker's Philosopher

Alyssa DeBlasio

Edinburgh University Press

Balabanov’s final film, Me Too, is difficult to make sense of within the rest of his oeuvre. The film is both misanthropic and spiritual; it contains the nihilistic and Soviet tropes we recognize from Balabanov’s earlier work, while also including spiritual allegory and religious symbolism. Balabanov was a student of Mamardashvili’s at the Higher Courses for Scriptwriting and Directing in the 1980s. This chapter looks at the role of the absurd in Mamardashvili’s philosophy and in two of Balabanov’s films, The Castle (1994) and Me Too (2012). It investigates the way that both Mamardashvili and Balabanov were involved in their own idiosyncratic searches for spirituality without God, and how the quests of both were circumscribed by the Soviet state—in the case of Mamardashvili, the restrictions of Soviet ideology, and in the case of Balabanov, the language and aesthetics of an inverted Soviet imperial nostalgia.

Keywords:   Alexei Balabanov / Aleksei Balabanov, Me Too, The Castle, Franz Kafka

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