Folk Elements in Aleksei Balabanov’s Brat and Brat 2: A Morphological Analysis

Emily Schuckman Matthews


The article uses Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale as a framework to illustrate the way in which Aleksei Balabanov masterfully creates a modern folk tale using classic motifs and structures in his 1997 film Brother (Brat) and its sequel Brother 2 (Brat 2, 2000). The paper argues that Brother and Brother 2 are post-Soviet retellings of classic tales of Russian folklore and that Danila is a modern hero, an unlikely savior of the Russian nation and the Russian soul. Danila’s journey is formulaic, predictable and straight forward, yet nevertheless makes for a powerfully new take on concepts of Russian nationalism and heroism.


Balabanov, Propp, Russian Folklore

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