Political Dissidence in Gregori Kozintsev's Gamlet

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

L.Monique Pittman


Gregori Kozintsev produced Gamlet (1964) as a film adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet during a challenging time for artistic expression in Soviet Russia. Given the threats of censorship, imprisonment, and exile always looming over Soviet writers and artists, Kozintsev's adaptation is in many ways a work of bravery. In Gamlet he utilizes a story of geographically distant persons and places to critique the problems of power in the USSR. Much of this occurs in his depiction of the suffering of Hamet and Ophelia at the hands of paternalistic power, which stands in for political authority. Concerns over authority emerge not just in the film's plot but also in the lives and work of creative participants. For example, Boris Pasternak and Dmitri Shostakovich--contributors for the film's screenplay and score, respectively--are evidence of their individual investment in free artistic expression. Both individuals played a difficult game of creating art that was subtly subversive, simultaneously making public statements of loyalty to the Party. In the film, these subversive elements are especially evident in a portrayal of the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia to their respective figures of paternal auuthority; the film techniques, language, and music in these scenes demonstrate how Kozintsev uses an officially sanctioned story to convey an unsanctioned message

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.



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