Sibirskii tsiriul’nik (The Barber of Siberia)

  • Birgit Beumers


While the first Russian film discussed in this book, The Battleship Potemkin (1926), ranks among the world’s best films, The Barber of Siberia (Sibirskii tsiriul’nik, 1998) is one of the most expensive feature films ever made outside Hollywood ($49 million). While Eisenstein had a hand-painted red flag in his film, emphasising the triumphant spirit of the Revolution and turning its success forward in time, Mikhalkov turned time backwards by having the red stars, symbol of Soviet power, removed from the Kremlin towers to allow for the film’s setting in pre-Revolutionary Russia. While Eisenstein constructed Soviet history, Mikhalkov remembers Russia’s past values with nostalgia. The temporal axes of the two films are thus diametrically opposed, although both film-makers look towards the future in their reassessment of the past. They represent in their spirit the beginning and the end of the Soviet era, and of a century of film-making.


Film Industry Love Story Ideal Father Soviet Power Siberian Forest 
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References and Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Attwood, Lynne (ed.) 1993: Red Women on the Silver Screen: Soviet Women and Cinema from the Beginning to the End of the Communist Era. London: Pandora.Google Scholar
  2. Berry, E. and Miller-Pogacar, A. (eds) 1995: Re-Entering the Sign. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beumers, Birgit (ed.) 1999: Russia on Reels: The Russian Idea in Post-Soviet Cinema. London: I. B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  4. Condee, Nancy (ed.) 1995: Soviet Hieroglyphics: Visual Culture in Late Twentieth-Century Russia. Bloomington, IN, and London: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Freidin, Gregory (ed.) 1993: Russian Culture in Transition. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Horton, Andrew and Brashinsky, Michael 1991: The Zero-Hour: Glasnost and Soviet Cinema in Transition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Kelly, C. and Shepherd D. (eds) 1998: Russian Cultural Studies: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Lawton, Anna 1992: Kinoglasnost. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Shalin, D. 1996: Russian Culture at the Crossroads. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

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© Birgit Beumers 2000

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  • Birgit Beumers

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