The unconscious in the "Diamond Arm" by Leonid Gaidai

Salnikova, Ekaterina Victorovna
D.Sc. in Culture Studies, PhD in Art History, Head of the Mass Media Arts Department, State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow, Russia


The paper is dedicated to one of the best films of Leonid Gaidai, whose 100th anniversary will be celebrated in 2023. The action of the "Diamond Hand" demonstrates the transferring of the characters from a clear and familiar objective world into an obscure, strange one, beyond the limits of "realism". Stable reality, where everything is familiar to everyone and everything goes according to plan, is present only in the prologue. And this reality is a stylization of a criminal adventure film. Then the characters begin to wander from the rational world to the irrational world – with lapses of consciousness, semi-conscious states, the space of dreams and half-sleep, ‘visions’ and hallucinations. The author of the paper follows the dynamic pattern of the characters' borderline states and moments of disconnection of consciousness, analyzes the nature of visual images of the ‘spiritual borderland’, interprets the subtexts. How do they relate to the genres of cinema, to the official Soviet culture outside the picture, to the behavioral attitudes of various characters in the reality of the film? The focus is on human psychology in late Soviet comedy and psychology of the screen form itself. A detailed analysis of some scenes reveals quite Freudian subtexts that were not noticed by critics at the time or noticed, but remained not described in scientific texts. Special attention is paid to the gender self-manifestations of the characters, the crisis of masculinity and femininity in the space of Soviet realities.

Keywords: soviet cinema, comedy, laughter, stylization, unconscious, dream, obsession, subtext, Leonid Gaidai