»Cinematography of the Soviet Thaw« is usually associated with unconventional cinematic masterpieces, the beginning of the so-called Soviet nouvelle vague, and the superficial liberalization of the arts under the rule of Nikita Khrushchev in the USSR. While an emphasis on these characteristics is by no means out of place, it seems to push a different aspect of the Thaw to the margins of analysis. We are talking about popular films, so-called Soviet blockbusters, which are more than relevant for analysis from the point of view of cultural studies and attempts of critical reflection of various dimensions of the Thaw, ranging from politics and society to film. This text attempts to tackle the Thaw from this very angle, focusing on the cultural construction of alcohol in popular films of the second half of the Thaw (1958–1964), known for a zealous yet inefficient anti-alcoholistic campaign launched by the ruling Communist Party.

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