We think watching movies is fun and easy: suspend your disbelief, enter the dream world of cinema and escape. But when we try to talk about films we often falter: 'It's kind of a gangster film... , more like an action thriller... a Western... but it's different, because...' - and then we are stuck. Whether you are at school or university, a lecturer, secretary or globetrotting film buff, Path of Blood will give you a solid understanding of genre film through the popular crime movies of the enigmatic Russian director Aleksei Balabav. Being the first book-length study dedicated to Aleksei Balabav's work, Path of Blood uses the prism of genre to focus on representations of Russia, America, the Caucasus, Ukraine and Western Europe. As a result, Path of Blood demonstrates that the genre method can successfully be applied to Russian narrative film. The book, moreover, lays bare Balabav's rejection of a clear-cut post-Soviet identity and his problematisation of dominant Russian ideologies and thus brings a corrective to previous writings on his films. Seth Graham from the UCL SSEES writes that One of the book's strongest contributions is to the study of contemporary Russian culture, and here the choice of Balabav is spot-on. This book is a forward-looking and - especially in its contribution to film genre studies - invative piece of film scholarship. This is as much due to the author's keen choice of subject as to his thorough grounding in genre theory. Film genre has convincingly been shown to be a powerful analytical prism by Florian. I sincerely hope that he writes a sequel to this book. Stephen Hutchings from Russian and East European Studies at The University of Manchester observes that Path of Blood succeeds in challenging many of the conventional wisdoms surrounding Balabav's work. Perhaps most impressively, Weinhold's deep (yet far from uncritical) sympathy for his subject enables him to convey a real sense of the anguish that Balabav felt for the fate of his nation and his fellow Russians and, ultimately, to capture some of the most difficult contradictions at the heart of the very term 'post-Soviet'. What is clear is that Weinhold's book is a fitting tribute to a director, the like of which Russia (and, arguably, the international cinematic can within which he can w claim a place) has never seen before and, perhaps, will never see again. Path of Blood is two books in one: a groundbreaking must read on Aleksei Balabav's highly popular and controversial genre films as well as an easy-guide introduction to 'film/genre', in general, and several genres such as, for example, the gangster and war genres, the Western, melodrama and film neo-ir, in particular.
Florian Weinhold studied for his PhD in Russian Cinema and Cultural Studies under the sagacious supervision of Professor Stephen Hutchings at The University of Manchester, UK. His PhD received a scholarship from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and their trust was repaid, when it received a first class in 2012. Previously, Florian had studied for an M.A. in Russian Studies at The Manchester University, which also gave him a full scholarship, well-earned with a 'distinction' in 2005. In 2001, Florian's B.A. (Hons.) Linguistics and Russian received a 'first degree' and 'distinction in spoken Russian'.