Marko DumancicMay 4, 2021
Men Out of Focus
The Soviet Masculinity Crisis in the Long Sixties
Marko Dumancic's book Men Out of Focus: The Soviet Masculinity Crisis in the Long Sixties (University of Toronto Press, 2021) charts conversations and polemics about masculinity in Soviet cinema and popular media during the liberal period - often described as "The Thaw" - between the death of Stalin in 1953 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The book shows how the filmmakers of the long 1960s built stories around male protagonists who felt disoriented by a world that was becoming increasingly suburbanized, rebellious, consumerist, household-oriented, and scientifically complex. The dramatic tension of 1960s cinema revolved around the male protagonists' inability to navigate the challenges of postwar life.
Selling over three billion tickets annually, the Soviet film industry became a fault line of postwar cultural contestation. By examining both the discussions surrounding the period's most controversial movies as well as the cultural context in which these debates happened, the book captures the official and popular reactions to the dizzying transformations of Soviet society after Stalin.
Jill Massino is a scholar of modern Eastern Europe with a focus on Romania, gender, and everyday life.