The “Erotic” Tractor in the Soviet Cinema
Between the 1930s and the 1960s, much emphasis was put in the Soviet Union on the technological development of the country. One of the latest wonders of technology was the tractor, which harvested crops efficiently and rapidly. This article is concerned with the Soviet cinematic representation of work with tractors as the most erotic characteristic of a man. A man attractive to women in Soviet cinema is not handsome but rather is someone proficient in operating a tractor. On the other hand, a man who does not know how to operate a tractor is represented as impotent and is ridiculed by female characters. Several romantic films were produced in which the relationship between the protagonists developed against a background of the use of a tractor. These films became iconic and classic: everyone saw them many times and knew their scripts by heart. Most of the films depict a young Soviet man and his path to the heart of his girlfriend, and some show the maturation of the young character and his transformation into a real man. These goals are achieved through his work as a tractor driver. Examples of this are films like The Rich Bride (romantic comedy, 1937), Tractor Drivers (romantic drama, 1939), Cossacks of the Kuban (romantic comedy, 1949), It Happened in Penkovo (romantic drama, 1957), and Knight’s Move (comedy, 1962). In all these films, work with tractors is represented as an integral part of the “machismo” of the Soviet man.
Benjamin, W. (2008). Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility: Second Version. In Benjamin, W. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media / ed. by M. W. Jennings, B. Doherty, T. Y. Levin. Cambridge, MA, Harvard Univ. Press, pp. 19–55.
Cirlot, J. E. (1990). A Dictionary of Symbols. 2nd Ed. L., Routledge. 514 р.
Cody, T. (2013). The Propaganda Era: Film as a Political Tool. In The Silhouette [website]. Marth 28. URL: https://www.thesil.ca/the-propaganda-era-film-is-a-politicaltool (mode of access: 24.03.2020).
Dobrenko, Е. А. (Ed.). (1990). Izbavlenie ot mirazhei: sotsrealizm segodnya [Deliverance from Illusions: Socialist Realism Today]. Moscow, Sovetskii pisatel’. 413 p.
Ellul, J. (1965). Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes. N. Y., Alfred A. Knopf. 320 p.
Fitzpatrich, S. (2000). Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times : Soviet Russia in the 1930s. Oxford, Oxford Univ. Press. 312 p.
Günther, H., Dobrenko, E. (Eds.). (2000). Sotsrealisticheskii kanon [The Socialist Realist Canon]. St Petersburg, Akademicheskii proekt. 1040 p.
Lapidus, R. (2008). Passion, Humiliation, Revenge – Hatred in Man-Woman Relationships in the 19th and 20th Century Russian Novel. Lanham, Maryland, Lexington Books. 182 р.
Lerman, Z., Kislev Y., Biton D. (2003). Agricultural Output and Productivity in the Former Soviet Republics. In Economic Development and Cultural Change. Vol. 51. No. 4, pp. 999–1018. DOI 10.1086/376884.
Rezun, M. (1996). Science, Technology, and Ecopolitics in the USSR. Westport, CT, Praeger. 228 р.