This chapter examines the genre of chernukha films of the late 1980s. Chernukha was a fairly short-lived phenomenon; however, the specifics of its artistic language and cultural reception have persisted in post-Soviet culture to this day. The chapter examines chernukha’s negative reception and the way in which it has informed contemporary public debates on patriotism, public taste and the relationship of cinema and society. It argues that chernukha cinema involves a certain paradox of representation: chernukha’s transgressive physicality and brutal language both appropriate and subvert the conventions of naturalist, social drama, as well as popular genre formulae, casting suspicion on various cultural prescriptions. The transgressiveness of chernukha points to a world that is simultaneously surreal in its brutality and real in its interwovenness within the very fabric of late-Soviet life. With this excessive vision, chernukha creates a discursive rupture in the viewers’ perception of both the aesthetic world of the films and the social reality they inhabit, problematizing the relationships among the realms of the social, the political and that of artistic representation. As a result, chernukha exerts an abiding influence on the interrelationship among the arts, the state and society today, particularly within the new wave of socially minded art-house cinema.