Challenging political mythology : representations of the rural in post-communist Hungarian cinema.
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This thesis examines the ways in which the rural functions as a site of counter-narrative in post-communist Hungarian cinema. I argue that within the post-communist generation there exists a number of filmmakers producing cinema, varied in style, that utilise the rural as a space through which to challenge the multifarious political myths that have risen in the ideological wake of communism. By scrutinising nine diverse examples of post-millennial Hungarian cinema set in rural locations, Hungarian or otherwise, this thesis poses the following questions: What can one learn about Hungary’s post-communist experience through cinematic representations of the rural? How do these films complicate the prevalent narratives of Hungary’s past and present? Who is telling these stories, and why are these alternative narratives valuable to an understanding of contemporary Hungarian society? Employing a cultural studies perspective, this thesis maintains that the films under analysis respond to the specific socio-historiographical conditions of their making, contesting the dominant political myths pertaining to post-communist life, the understanding and application of national history and Hungary’s national self-perception within a now global, post-communist setting. Confronting both internal and external political myths, these films provide an alternative mode of discourse through which to better understand post-millennial Hungary and the ongoing process of transition. I divide my analysis into three areas of interest. First, I examine the political myths surrounding Hungary’s return to the West, questioning how cinematic representations of the rural challenge the mythopoeic narratives of Hungary’s capitalist assimilation. I then explore the myths of Hungarian national history, examining the ways in which filmmakers utilise the rural to query and contest contemporary Hungarian memory politics. Finally, I examine the consequences of post-communist political myths and the role that rural representation plays in bringing these consequences to the fore.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2023-04-05
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 5th April 2023
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