Depiction of Women in the Commissar

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Throughout the existence of the Communist regime in Russia that reigned from 1918 to 1989, many cinematic productions were made to highlight certain key areas of not only the Russian Revolution, such as Sergei Eisentien's "October", but also to identify many key characteristics of the individual that is placed amidst such a transition. Aleksandr Askoldov's 1967 production of "The Commissar" is arguably the most famous film portraying the various circumstances and conditions of individuals amidst the revolution. He focuses on a female commissar named Vavilova who, along with her Red army military unit, believe firmly in the communist revolution and are engaged in a civil war with tsar loyalists and various western troops known as the White army. Whilst Vavilova represents a strong, dominant and brutish depiction of women that is made clearly apparent very early on in the film, Askoldov also presents another portrayal of women through the character of Mariya, a traditional Jewish wife and mother of six. Askoldov enhances the depiction of women through the character of Vavilova herself who, as the film progresses, seems to transform from her hard exterior shown in the beginning of the film, into a more traditional woman such as Mariya. However, whilst it is conceivable to believe that Vavilova has transformed herself due to becoming a mother and living with a simple but loving family and away from the harshness and brutality of war, Yefim, Mariya's husband, suggests that Vavilova's feminine qualities have always existed, but have always been deeply buried, "#Does putting on breeches make you a man?." This suggests that Vavilova was forced to place a hard exterior around her in order to survive s... ... middle of paper ... ...ova as a traditional woman wanting to care for her son. However the distinct difference between Vavilova and Mariya is that whilst Mariya is an excellent mother and supporting wife who is content and used to waiting on better days, Vavilova seeks out the best for her and her son by sacrificing her happiness and perhaps her life for the greater good. It is this sacrifice of her life that finally depicts Vavilova for her true self. She is in essence the total woman who is a loving mother and devout solider. Bibliography · Elena Stishova, The Mythologization of Soviet Woman, The Commissar and other cases · Maria Deppermann, The Genealogy of the Woman Commissar in Soviet Culture, University of Innsbruck · Aleksandr Askoldov, The Commissar, 1967 · http://www.berdichev.org/comissar.html

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