Existential Problematics in Theatricala Cinematic Adaptations of the Novel “Bury Me Behind the Baseboard” by P. Sanaev

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Abstract. The article considers theatrical and cinematic interpretations (by I. Konyaev and S. Snezhkin) of P. Sanaev’s autofiction “Bury me behind the baseboard”. Different readings of Sanaev’s text make it possible to see the autofiction as an ambivalent cultural phenomenon, which staying referential to an autobiographical experience is seen as a fictional construction open to rewriting. The author of autofiction is not perceived as an authoritative interpreter of his personal history. While analyzing the ways of representation of existential problems by tools of theater and cinema, we come to the conclusion that directors create two different versions of Sanaev’s story: I. Konyaev’s spectacle emphasize the problem of mutual understanding and possibility of communication and S. Snezhkin demonstrates the drama generated by economic factors and the substitution of values. But at the same time both versions of “Bury me behind the baseboard” aim to be an objective story, in order to get away from the monologue of the confessional text. Specific devices, such as objects endowed with a symbolic meaning, gestures of actors, the selection of episodes and the introduction of additional scenes to the script, make it possible to show not only a child’s confession, but a family drama, accentuate problems of death and existential loneliness.

Keywords: autofiction, interpretation, theater, cinema, existentialism, trauma, the Other.

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