Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing


Literature, Slavic and East European.


Straus, B. R.,




The thesis is centered around two Romanian post-communist films--- The Oak and The Conjugal Bed---while also addressing other aspects of the contemporary cultural spectrum. The films constitute a (pre)text for analysis and indicators of larger social phenomena. Using an eclectic cultural approach to post-communist phenomena, I position contemporary Romanian artifacts in relation to the communist inheritance, cultural traditions, and regional features. The thesis is structured to permit continuous dialogism among post-communism and post-colonialism, postmodernism, and feminisms. To emphasize the similarities and dissimilarities among these cultural trends, I have used the New Zealand Film Once Were Warriors as a background. The liminality of the post-communist transition is discussed in terms of its aesthetic and theoretical consequences, with emphasis on the fluidity of the critical approach which has to perpetually attune itself to the dynamics of the events. The aspects I have approached---internalized violence, the lack of positive forms of nationalism, the use of the absurd, grotesque imagery, (self-)irony, and laughter---constitute a dynamic, self-generating system of features. The presence of violence on screen is the outcome of a violent external factor of oppression---the imposition of Soviet communism---which has been internalized. The tacit involvement of the population through passivity led to heightened levels of guilt, national low self-esteem, and even an absence of a positive nationalist feeling. As liminal types of discourse, the absurd, the grotesque and laughter propose subversive alternatives to both the rigidity of the communist discourse and the stiffness of cheap nationalist optimism. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 39-02, page: 0361. Adviser: B. R. Straus. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1999.