|dc.description.abstract||This thesis focuses on ‘carnivals of transition’, as it examines cinematic representations in relation to socio-political and cultural reforms, including globalization, from 1960 to 2000, in Cuban and Russian films. The comparative approach adopted in this study analyses films with similar aesthetics, paying particular attention to the historical periods and the directors chosen, namely Leonid Gaidai, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, El’dar Riazanov, Juan Carlos Tabío, Iurii Mamin, Daniel Díaz Torres and Fernando Pérez.
This thesis maintains that most of the selected Cuban films are carnivalesque comedies comparable to films made during the same period in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. This thesis further argues that the carnivalesque became a strategic mode for socio-political subversion in these two countries.
Informed by textual, contextual and intertextual examinations of selected films, this thesis establishes that the carnivalesque in both countries has been characterized by an eclectic mixture of genres, ranging from light farcical comedies to black, surreal comedies and satires, thus making this mode instrumental for the representation of competing socio-political, cultural, and intercultural trends.
By investigating the evolution from bright carnivalesque film comedies to dark grotesque humour in Cuba and Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, this thesis provides new insights on black humour and on the importance of intercultural dialogue for the formation of new local and global cultural trends. This thesis will also consider how shifting social attitudes prompted the appearance of new genres, such as critical utopia and dystopian critique.
The thesis concludes by asserting that as well as serving as a fertile strategy for mutual cultural illumination, the carnivalesque mode is also the cinematic mode that best captures the constant process of renewal in all areas of social life.||