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Title: "Carving a Model Citizen: Screen Adventures of Soviet Pinocchio"


Abstract: My paper deals with a peculiar interaction between text, film and TV production of the canonical 1935 Soviet literary fairy tale, The Golden Key, or The Adventures of Buratino, by Alexei Tolstoy, his creative adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio. Written primarily for a children’s audience, this story was viewed as both shameless propaganda and as a skillful critique of Soviet ideology. Its twofold nature was revealed first in Alexander Ptushko's 1939 fairy tale film The Golden Key, and then in the 1975 TV musical The Adventures of Buratino, directed by Leonid Nechaev. While 1939 version helped to visualize Stalinist culture’s irrational spirit of utopianism, the 1975 musical undermined the familiar concept of Soviet utopia.  

Bio: Marina Balina is Isaac Funk Professor and Professor of Russian Studies Emerita at Illinois Wesleyan University. The focus of her scholarship is on historical and theoretical aspects of 20th century Russian children’s literature. She is editor and co-editor of eleven volumes, most recently on Hans Christian Andersen and Russia (with Mads Sohl Jessen, Ben Hellman, and Johs. Norregaard Frandsen), University Press of Southern Denmark, 2020. Her collective monograph (with Serguei Oushakine) entitled The Pedagogy of Images: Teaching Communism to Children is coming out in summer of 2021 from the University of Toronto Press.   

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