The collapse of the USSR seemed to spell the end of the empire, yet it by no means marked the end of Russia's enduring imperial preoccupations, extending over four and a half centuries since the reign of Ivan IV. Is there such a thing as an imperial trace in Russia's contemporary culture? Condee argues that we cannot make sense of contemporary Russian culture without accounting for its imperial legacy and mapping out the terms of such an analysis. She turns to the instance of contemporary cinema to focus this line of inquiry. Within film (and implicitly other cultural fields as well) do we limit our accounting to narrative evidence-Chechen wars at the periphery, historical costume dramas of court life-or could an imperial trace be sought in other, more embedded ways, in the manner and structure or representation, the conditions of productions, the recurrent preoccupations of its leading filmmakers, the ways in which collective belonging is figured or disfigured? This book organizes these questions around the work of Russia's internationally ranked auteurs of the late Soviet and post-Soviet period: Kira Muratova, Vadim Abdrashitov, Nikita Mikhalkov, Aleksei German, and Aleksandr Sokurov.