The discreet charm of surrealism in Eastern European animation
: when repression fosters creativity

  • Ekaterina Smirnova (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The focus of this dissertation is Surrealism in animation films created during the Soviet period of 1956 – 1989 in Russia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. These thirty-three years of the Soviet regime were characterized by the domination of censorship, a persecution of "formalism" and control over artistic expression. However, in these dark conditions the animation industry flourished and striking political films appeared. These films told personal stories and intimate secrets in a way that was not immediately recognizable, sometimes thought of as madness or simply overlooked by the censorship for the simple reason, that animation was thought of as an art for children that could not pose any danger. This dissertation aims at recognizing political revolt and subversion in the animation industry through an analysis of the ambivalent conditions of the Soviet repression system that simultaneously curbed and led to a rise in creativity. This gives rise to the main question: “Did censorship, under these specific conditions, foster artistic creativity in animation films?”
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorIsabel Capeloa Gil (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Estudos de Cultura

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