할리우드 뮤지컬의 소련화 : 알렉산드로프의 〈서커스〉
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- 할리우드 뮤지컬의 소련화 : 알렉산드로프의 〈서커스〉
- Other Titles
- Sovietization of Hollywood Musical: Aleksandrov’s Circus
- Yoon, Saera
- Issue Date
- 슬라브학보, v.23, no.4, pp.231 - 252
- The premise of this paper is that Grigorii Aleksandtov’s musical comedy, Circus (1936), is an attempt to embrace the successes of Hollywood musical comedy and, at the same time, overcome its defects largely inherent in American (and for that matter Western) culture. Circus is in every respect a product of the time it was made: from mid-1930s on, Soviet artists were under pressure to get the state ideology across to the masses in a comprehensible form. Both entertaining and propagandistic, Aleksandrov’s second musical faithfully sticks to the direction sanctioned by the state.
As well noted, the musical genre in film owes its origin and success to Hollywood. Having embarked on a new territory with The Jazz Singer (1927), Hollywood musical provided successful formula for the genre. Aleksandrov, one of the few fortunate Soviet citizens who had a chance to have a first-hand experience in Hollywood, put forth an array of Hollywood-style spectacle in Circus. One of the prime examples is the incorporation of Art Deco style to the film’s show numbers, a clear imitation of Busby Berkeley’s choreography in the same genre. In following Hollywood’s footsteps, however, Aleksandrov employs the foreign import in the manner that it serves the Soviet ideology. In his hand, the Hollywood-like style is best utilized by the Soviet circus troupe and with its grander scale, it overpowers the heroine’s allegedly Western number.
More importantly, Aleksandrov employs various facets of the film in justifying the message of the film: superiority of the Soviet society vis-a-vis the West. The heroine’s transformation from a capitalist sensualist to a sanitized Soviet citizen is in particular highlighted by means of the narrative and mise-en-scene. Aleksandrov pushes the dialogue to reach its climax when he takes on the issue of racism, the most infamous problem associated with the then United States. By presenting how the Soviet people resolve the issue, the filmmaker implies the Soviet superiority. In this respect, the finale of the film taking place in the Red Square on May Day is indispensable in symbo lizing the final stage of the heroine’s sovietization. While drawing upon certain features of Hollywood musical, Circus utilizes the Hollywood model ultimately to justify the Soviet cause.
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