This article explores the work of young Russian female director Valeria Gai Germanika. Germanika has gained a public profile over the last ten years through documentary shorts such as Sisters (Syostry, 2005), Girls (Devochki, 2005), and Boys (Malchiki, 2007); feature film Everybody Dies but Me (Vse umrut, a ya ostanus, 2008); and sixty-part TV series School (Shkola, Channel One Russia, 2010). These works deal with the issues that contemporary Russian youth face in such a confrontational manner that they have been the subject of a special debate in the Russian parliament (Duma). Consequently, Germanika has become visible as an auteur who operates simultaneously between several historical, conceptual, and industrial formations: as a female director in a still male-dominated post-Soviet cinema industry, as an independent director in a production landscape defined by large studios, and, most important, as a young director articulating a position of youth in a cultural milieu traditionally dominated by an older generation's point of view. Her work and profile as a director thus offer a specifically gendered and generational dimension to the geopolitical movements that inflect popular culture in postcommunist Eastern Europe. Germanika's work casts light on the contemporary terrain of Russian filmmaking and its relationship to the site occupied by Russian youth, who find themselves caught between the communist past and the yet-to-come postcommunist future. This article offers a critical reading of Everybody Dies but Me and School, specifically exploring how discourses of femininity and adolescence intersect in relation to Germanika and her work.
Research Article|May 01 2014