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Symbolic Structure of a Cinematic Utterance: Iconologic and Metatextual Aspects of Andrey Zvyagintsev's "The Return"

Student: Anastasia Lisina

Supervisor: Victoria O. Vasileva

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Cultural and Intellectual History: Between East and West (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2019

The research paper focuses on conveying a detailed analysis of the symbolic structure and the shaping features of the debut film of the Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev «The Return». The study is based on the theoretical and methodological principles described by Erwin Panofsky in his works on iconological interpretation, as well as on some points of the general theory of intertextuality and the concept of metatext (or metafiction) in particular. The paper outlines the main features and elements inherent in Zvyagintsev's «auteur» style, while drawing parallels between the cinematographic and cultural heritage and the aesthetic and semantic field of «The Return». Iconological and intertextual analysis combined with the application of some principles of deconstruction and structural semiotic analysis confirms the hypothesis of the importance of a developed symbolic structure being the core of Zvyagintsev’s film. The presence of such structure that is based on direct and indirect quoting makes it possible to speak of «The Return» as of a film with rich postmodernist aesthetic existing in the context of a certain tradition and utilizing some of its elements and achievements as ways of influencing the viewer.

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