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Key words
traditional games and entertainment in movies, the semiotic status of game episodes, the game as a micro-social action, social interactions
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (495) 938-52-39
32a, Leninskiy av., Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation
Grand PhD (History), chief researcher, Department of Cross-Cultural Psychology and Human Ethology, N. N. Miklukho-Maklay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences

This study is conducted according to the research plan of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, RAS, No. 01201370995 “Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary studies”.


 The article analyzes cases of using episodes with traditional entertainment in films of representatives of different national film traditions. The semiotic statuses of these episodes in films of different genres are investigated, as well as their functions from the point of view of contemporary theories of social interactions.

Traditional games and entertainment in the narrative fabric of the movie function in various roles. Semiotic or sign values are most obvious in cases when game episodes perform iconic and index functions. But if we face symbolic meanings, the role of internal and external references increases significantly, and meanings intended by moviemakers can be distorted under the influence of different models of receptive interpretation and personal world-orientation, including ethnic or national perception of the world. In this case, understanding the author’s intent by the given audience may be arbitrary and even completely contradict him. However, the study of the specifics of individual or group (social, national) models of the interpretation of cinematographs is a special task that goes beyond the scope of this work.

The emerging difficulties of interpretation can be solved by distinguishing between inscriptive and ascribed values, if we consider the game as a micro-social action. Analyzing the game episodes in the context of a micro-socium modeled by a film (movie characters + viewers), it is possible to show possible scenarios of social actions for them. Such “optics” provide us with new opportunities to interpret semiotics of movie text and its reception by different target audiences. Of course, in the case of complex transitive actions that lead to multiple transpositions of the original meanings, it is difficult to judge the original author’s idea. At the same time, the game of meanings that arises with “playing in the frame” creates the volume and polysemy, which is called the “artistic image”. 


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