« Millions for the Movies. The Moral and Political Economy of the Bulgarian Cinema Industry during Late Socialism »?

Janvier 2023
2 023

Type de pub.:

Nadège Ragaru

This article offers a reading of late socialism in Bulgaria (1970-80s), envisioned through the prism of the social history of cinema. Drawing on archival records and interviews with film professionals, some of whom held leading responsibilities during those years, it examines both the political economy of the film industry and its impact on the lived experiences of film professionals. Thereby, the paper sheds light on the workings of the command economy in a socialist country, as well as on the ways in which actors involved in this sector “made do” with the political, ideological and economic constraints they faced. Rejecting an approach centred on propaganda and censorship only, the article unveils the processes of subjectivation at work witin this social world, and the moral economy of the members of the guild. Ultimately, the article suggests that in late socialist Bulgaria control was exercised less from above, in a centralized and orchestrated way, than it was made up of the articulation of small constraints and the contingency of situations. Thereby, the analysis also contributes to understanding how the end of the socialist regime came about. This did not occur as a result of a clear and brutal rupture. Prior to the sudden downfall of dictator Zhivkov, a succession of small changes, often imperceptible, had fostered a novel political configuration, one conducive to revolutionary transformations.