Laura Roop

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Robert E Blobaum

Committee Co-Chair

Katherine B Aaslestad

Committee Member

Joshua Arthurs


According to cultural memory theory, cultural tools such as texts and symbols transmit the knowledge of meaningful historical events to groups. These cultural tools reproduce history by cultivating narratives that are relevant in a given time, and thus reflect the ongoing concerns over memory. The purpose of communicating significant turning points in a nation's history is to create a system of values, a self-image and the continuity of a nation. Films are considered to be both textual and visual representations of cultural memory. Since memory and commemoration of the Second World War have gone through many changes, one has to analyze how cultural memory has influenced the portrayal as well as the reception of the event. The aim of this master's thesis is to bring out what kind of narratives and symbols are used in the film Stalingrad, which was produced in 2013, in order to foster patriotism in contemporary Russia. Stalingrad, directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk, with screenplay by Ilya Tilkin and Sergey Snezhkin, is the all-time highest-grossing war feature film in Russia that portrays the Battle of Stalingrad.;Discourse analysis is chosen as method of the research, which will incorporate narrative analysis, intertextual analysis and iconographic analysis. The research reveals that Stalingrad influences cultural memory by using new technology, music, simple plot and by creating emotional attachment to characters. By applying four main narratives that are products of the wartime portrayal of the Second World War, but which have their roots in the pre-Soviet Russian culture -- "a holy war" "a war to save the motherland," "a war to save Russian civilization," and "a battle to the death" -- the film reinforces patriotism. The continuity of the Russian state and the connection with Old Russian culture is transmitted in the film through the use of Orthodox symbols and intertextuality with previous war films and literature. Stalingrad's dialogue with Western films contests various narratives; on the other hand it justifies Russian patriotism by showing that it does not differ from American patriotism.