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DOI: 10.30628/1994-9529-2021-17.4-65-108

Artem N. Zorin
Saratov State University,
Astrakhanskaya, 83, korp. 11, 410012, Saratov, Russia;
Saratov State Conservatory,
Rabochaya, 23, 410028, Saratov, Russia
Researcher ID: D-3015-2017
ORCID: 0000-0002-2342-4039
e-mail: art-zorin@yandex.ru

Daniil L. Riasov
Gogol’s House — Memorial Museum and Research Library,
Nikitsky Boulevard, 7A, 119019, Moscow, Russia
Researcher ID: AAD-3898-2022
ORCID: 0000-0003-0453-8097
e-mail: ryasovdaniil@yandex.ru

Wijdan A. Mohammed
University of Diyala,
Al-Mouradia, Baqubah, 32001, Diyala, Iraq;
Saratov State University,
Astrakhanskaya, 83, korp. 11, 410012, Saratov, Russia
Researcher ID: AAD-4124-2022
ORCID: 0000-0003-1481-7057
e-mail: wejdan_8484@yahoo.com

For citation
Zorin A.N., Riasov D.L., & Mohammed W.A. Eternal Revision: Screen Adaptations of Gogol’s Texts in the 21st Century. The Art and Science of Television. 2021. 17 (4), pp. 65–108. https://doi.org/10.30628/1994-9529-2021-17.4-65-108

Eternal Revision: Screen Adaptations of Gogol’s Texts in the 21st Century

Abstract. Post-Soviet era directors have been searching for the new aesthetic footholds in the images of Gogol’s works. Starting from pure satire denouncing the pre-revolutionary system, they have moved on to the absurdist grotesque. This was significantly influenced by the discoveries of Gogol scholars in the 1990s–2000s and the actualization of the interpretations of Gogol’s works created at the turn of the 19th–20th centuries, which were inconceivable for Soviet literary criticism Screen adaptations have been affected both directly—by theatrical productions of Gogol’s oeuvre, and indirectly—by a long tradition of stage appeals and directors’ decisions on his stories. The transfer of Gogol’s dramaturgy into the 21st century gave film directors and screenwriters the opportunity to maximize the relevance and social sensitivity of the plots. In the 21st century, the theme of an inspection as an image of the Last Judgment has been transformed into a semblance of a police detective. Most of the characters are related to the police or special services, to investigations, to real retribution. While for Gogol the idea of judgement lies in the moral plane, in post-Soviet interpretations it is usually associated with earthly requital, and an extremely explicit one, tailored to a crime TV series audience. Against such a background, Grigory Konstantinopolsky’s film adaptation of Dead Souls summarizes a decade of Gogol film interpretations. The story of Chichikov blatantly accumulates and travesties the previous tradition of presenting Gogol’s detective plots. The film actualizes the issue of a positive hero, the problem of memory transformation, and cinema’s responsibility to the society in the period of
losing its literature-centeredness. The transformation of the spiritual and intimate life of Gogol’s contemporaries, which was the most important theme for the writer, was also updated in a number of motifs: the lack of foundations for understanding between loving people (Marriage, 2009), the displacement of traditional gender roles (Happy Ending, 2010), the privatization of national memory, and summing up the unformed aesthetics of the new Russian cinema by the “lost generation” of the ‘90s (Dead Souls, 2020).
Keywords: Gogol, film adaptation, dramaturgy, creative reception, Viy, Dead Souls, Russian cinema