Retromania as the Symptom of Trauma: The Past and Present in Sergei Loznitsa’s Schast’e Moe


The article discusses Sergei Loznitsa’s film Schast’e moe (My Joy, 2010) as the most radical critique of the retromaniac glorification of the profound connections between the present-day Russia and its heroic history, especially the Great Patriotic War. Loznitsa presents this connection as a circular narrative that is driven by recurring patterns of violence, which in turn manifest unresolved societal traumas. The patterns of recurrent violence and the circularity of its cycle can be described through Freudian definition of trauma. Loznitsa treats retromania as an objective condition of contemporary Russian society – the one that mythologizes reproduction of these violence-based power relations, not only vertically but also horizontally. This logic is deeply embedded in the film’s structure and the system of recurring motifs, which eventually constitute a surreal picture in which the borders between the past and present are blurred by the permanence of violence in the fabric of society.

Keywords: Sergei Loznitsa, violence, historical memory, trauma

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