One of the paradoxes of mainstream Soviet cinema was that it tended to ‘make a spectacle’ of masculine physicality without (for the most part) drawing attention to it in any explicit sense. The male hero’s body was mythologized in patriarchal structures that imposed themselves as neutral. This paper examines the different ways in which the director Kira Muratova challenges this cultural paradigm, by explicitly foregrounding the male body, and destabilizing the male perspective. In this respect Muratova’s films pose a challenge to the archetypal images of masculinity (and femininity) prevalent not just in the Soviet Union, or in mainstream cinema, but in many other places besides.
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