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Cold War II - Hollywood's Renewed Obsession with Russia

Cold War II

Hollywood's Renewed Obsession with Russia

Edited by Tatiana Prorokova-Konrad
Hardcover : 9781496831095, 264 pages, November 2020
Paperback : 9781496831101, 264 pages, November 2020

Essays that critique America's superiority complex and movies and TV shows that reignite the Cold War


Contributions by Thomas J. Cobb, Donna A. Gessell, Helena Goscilo, Cyndy Hendershot, Christian Jimenez, David LaRocca, Lori Maguire, Tatiana Prorokova-Konrad, Ian Scott, Vesta Silva, Lucian Tion, Dan Ward, and Jon Wiebel

In recent years, Hollywood cinema has forwarded a growing number of images of the Cold War and entertained a return to memories of conflicts between the USSR and the US, Russians and Americans, and communism and capitalism. Cold War II: Hollywood’s Renewed Obsession with Russia explores the reasons for this sudden reestablished interest in the Cold War. Essayists examine such films as Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U. N.C. L.E. , Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s Hail, Caesar!, David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, and Francis Lawrence’s Red Sparrow, among others, as well as such television shows as Comrade Detective and The Americans.

Contributors to this collection interrogate the revival of the Cold War movie genre from multiple angles and examine the issues of patriotism, national identity, otherness, gender, and corruption. They consider cinematic aesthetics and the ethics of these representations. They reveal how Cold War imagery shapes audiences’ understanding of the period in general and of the relationship between the US and Russia in particular. The authors complicate traditional definitions of the Cold War film and invite readers to discover a new phase in the Cold War movie genre: Cold War II.


"Prokorova-Konrad (Univ. of Vienna) asserts that Hollywood entertainment of the pas two decades had renewd its longtime obsession with Russia. She poses questions about how cultural products respond to golbal political transformations. How did the Cold War binary of communism versus capitalism shift to represent oligarchy versus liberal democracy? Did Hollywood react to Russia's 2014 annexatio of Crimea or Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election? The 11 essays--all written by scholars of American studies, with the exception of one Slavist--are divided into three section: "Enduring Cliches" ; "New Aesthrtics of the Old Past," which looks at the revival of old aesthetics such as the dreary socialist cityscape; and "Patriotism, Corruption, and Otherness," which examines representations of morality. Though it might be simple to look at the rise of the Russian Federation and the corruptness of Vladmir Putin as a source of entertainment to drive these narratives, the colume posits the much more convincing reason that the return to Cold War entertainment is not just about Russie, but about a "new victory culture" under Donald Trump, which seeks to view the world in comforting, simplified binary distinctions of the past."

- A. H. Chapman, CHOICE

"The Cold War is back, and it’s as paranoid and hysterical as ever! The essays in this collection survey the historical repetition of Cold War tropes in popular media and ask what difference they make—or ought to make—to our understandings of political life today. Given that both Trump and Putin use popular memories of the Cold War to gin up populist allegiance, these analyses offer a timely reminder of the work media do to shape such memories and make them usable."

- Stacy Takacs, professor of American studies, Oklahoma State University

"Cold War II has value as an inaugural volume in what will surely be an expanding area."

- Denise J. Youngblood, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television