Science Fiction Film & Television

Genre and gender in The Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel (1979)

Science Fiction Film & Television (2015), 8, (2), 145–166.

Abstract

Hukkunud Alpinisti hotell (Отель ‘У Погибшего Альпиниста’/The Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel; Kromanov Estonia 1979) was made at the height of the era of Soviet political stagnation in the late 1970s. It is a stylish screen adaptation of the novel of the same name written ten years earlier by the celebrated Russian sf authors Arkadii and Boris Strugatskii, who also scripted the screenplay. Hukkunud Alpinisti hotell was the first of their works to be filmed, closely followed by Сталкер (Stalker; Tarkovsky Russia 1979), based on their 1972 novel Пикник на обочине/Roadside Picnic. This article concentrates on two aspects of the film: its interesting combination of genres and intriguing interpretation of gendered representations. A certain sense of ‘queering’ prevails in relation to the film’s rather unconventional approach to genre as well as its discourse on gender and sexuality. Our analysis is primarily concerned with the film, but also considers various units of its intertextual universe, such as the novel and the different versions of the script.

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Näripea, Eva

Cederlöf, Henriette