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Communism, Consumerism, and Gender in Early Cold War Film: The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros

Communism, Consumerism, and Gender in Early Cold War Film: The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros Communism, Consumerism, and Gender in Early Cold War Film The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros Rhiannon Dowling ABSTRACT This article deals with ideologies of domesticity, femininity, and consumerism as they were articulated in two fi lms in the early Cold War. These fi lms, shown in occupied Berlin from the spring of 1948 through the fi rst few months of 1949, were Ernst Lu- bitsch’s Hollywood classic Ninotchka (1939) and the Soviet fi lm Russkii vopros (The Rus- sian Question, 1948). They portrayed competing notions of domestic consumption and the “good life” in the a ermath of the Second World War—issues more commonly understood to have characterized the later, thaw-era, years of the confl ict. Though they were shown at a time of heightened political and ideological tensions, neither painted a one-dimensional or demonized portrait of the enemy. Instead, both fi lms employed narratives about the private lives and material desires of women in order to human- ize their enemies and yet make a statement about the inhuman nature of the other system. KEYWORDS: Berlin, Cold War, consumerism, fi lm, gender, Ninotchka, Russkii vopros One of the fi rst public contests of the cultural Cold War took place http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aspasia Berghahn Books

Communism, Consumerism, and Gender in Early Cold War Film: The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros

Aspasia , Volume 8 (1): 19 – Mar 1, 2014

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Publisher
Berghahn Books
Copyright
© 2022 Berghahn Books
ISSN
1933-2882
eISSN
1933-2890
DOI
10.3167/asp.2014.080103
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Communism, Consumerism, and Gender in Early Cold War Film The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros Rhiannon Dowling ABSTRACT This article deals with ideologies of domesticity, femininity, and consumerism as they were articulated in two fi lms in the early Cold War. These fi lms, shown in occupied Berlin from the spring of 1948 through the fi rst few months of 1949, were Ernst Lu- bitsch’s Hollywood classic Ninotchka (1939) and the Soviet fi lm Russkii vopros (The Rus- sian Question, 1948). They portrayed competing notions of domestic consumption and the “good life” in the a ermath of the Second World War—issues more commonly understood to have characterized the later, thaw-era, years of the confl ict. Though they were shown at a time of heightened political and ideological tensions, neither painted a one-dimensional or demonized portrait of the enemy. Instead, both fi lms employed narratives about the private lives and material desires of women in order to human- ize their enemies and yet make a statement about the inhuman nature of the other system. KEYWORDS: Berlin, Cold War, consumerism, fi lm, gender, Ninotchka, Russkii vopros One of the fi rst public contests of the cultural Cold War took place

Journal

AspasiaBerghahn Books

Published: Mar 1, 2014

Keywords: Berlin; Cold War; consumerism; film; gender; Ninotchka; Russkii vopros

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