FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE

ANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
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Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 2016, no. 12

 

THE PLOT DEVICE OF CONSPIRACY IN NIKOLAY BURLYAEV’S FILM LERMONTOV AND A DIRECTOR’S DIARY: ON THE ‘ETHNOGRAPHY OF THE EMOTIONS’ OF THE NATIONAL-CONSERVATIVE COMMUNITY

Anna Razuvalova

Institute of Russian Literature (The Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Science
4 Makarova Emb., St Petersburg, Russia
rai-2004()yandex.ru

Summary: This article focuses on the film director Nikolay Burlyaev’s handling of the plot ‘death of a poet’ presented, on the one hand, in his film Lermontov (1986) and on the other hand, in his A Director’s Diary. The author traces the director’s apprehension of conspiracy schemes as a way to explain why part of the cinematographic community did not accept the message of the movie. The author states that the motifs of Masonic conspiracy against Russian classical literature, which circulated within the milieu of conservative nationalists, clearly reveal the affective background of conspiracy theories. These motifs also reveal the late-Soviet nationalists as an ‘emotional community’ (B. Rosenwein), united not only by commonly shared ideological views, but also by emotional experiences (in particular, the feeling of deprivation, caused by the activity of what was called ‘the Jewish lobby’, which was said to occupy political and cultural spheres of the Soviet state). Burlyaev perceived the sharp criticism of his film, dedicated to the ‘authentic’ reasons for Lermontov’s death, as further evidence of the secret masonic organization’s activity. Later in debates with opponents, he identified himself with Lermontov, who perished in the hands of Russia’s enemies more than a hundred years ago, and attempted to describe his own position in terms of open resistance to a secret enemy. Finally, Burlyaev’s public effort to unmask the mechanisms of conspiracy, an effort supported by the rhetoric of his proponents, clearly demonstrated how in times of social and political changes, traumatic emotions of disadvantage and resentment worked as ‘instruments of sociability’ (Rosenwein), creating a public non-conformist reputation for the patriotic community and becoming an important source for political action.

Keywords: conspiracy theory, masonic plot, emotional community, deprivation, late-Soviet nationalists.

To cite: Razuvalova A., 'The Plot Device of Conspiracy in Nikolay Burlyaev’s film Lermontov and A Director’s Diary: on the "Ethnography of the Emotions" of the National-Conservative Community', Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 2016, no. 12, pp. 161–185.

URL: http://anthropologie.kunstkamera.ru/files/pdf/eng012/razuvalova.pdf