TAS204 The Cultural History of Polish Cinema

Teacher responsible:

Dr. Jolanta Szymkowska-Bartyzel

Brief course description:

The course will focus on some of the key Polish films of the post-war period.

Aims:

Its aim is to give the students an overview of the history of Polish cinema in general. We will watch 13 feature films and some short documentaries. Some of the features will be accompanied by a 10-15 minutes short film, as well. The lecture will comment on the films, but its main purpose is to provide the students with a cultural and historical background crucial to appreciate the meanings of the films. We will try to discuss the relevance of the films for today's viewer, and to interpret some of their themes in the process.

Content:

1. Polish Cinema from the Beginnings to the Immediate Post-War Period (1896–1939)
2. Polish Film School: A Voice of Their Own
3. Wajda and Munk: Two Faces of Polish Film School
4. The Holocaust Trauma: Andrzej Munk's Passenger and Other Polish films about Holocaust
5. The Clash of the Titans: The Communist State vs. Catholic Church, as seen in Polish Cinema.
6. 1960s, Decade of Consent: Polish New Wave and the Cinema of "Little Stabilization" in the 1960s
7. 1960s, Decade of Rebellion.
8. Stirring Things: "The Cinema of Moral Unrest" in the 1970s.
9. A World Apart: Cinema of Krzysztof Kieślowski
10. A Woman's Tale: Female Voices in Polish Cinema.
11. The Big Break: „Solidarity", Martial Law, and the Social Unrest of the Early 1980s.
12. Laughing Screaming: 1980s Film Comedy.
13. Decade of Vinegar:1980s in Polish Cinema.
14. Empire Falls: The End of Communism and Its Aftermath 1985-1999.
15. Happy Days Are Here Again…?: New Century Meets Old Challenge

Reading list:

Czesław Miłosz, The Captive Mind, New York 2002. [chapter tba]
Tadeusz Borowski, This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen
 [edition tba]
Taduesz Lubelski, Was There at Least a Bit of the New Wave in Polish Cinema? [in:] Łukasz Ronduda, Barbara Piwowarska (ed.), Polish New Wave: The History of a Phenomenon that Never Existed, Instytut Adama Mickiewicza 2008, pp. 16-23.

Konrad Klejsa, Games, Masks, Yearnings, Escapes....: Fours Veiws on Jerzy Skolimowski's Early Work, [in:] Łukasz Rodunda, Barbara Piwowarska (ed.) Polish New Wave: The History of a Phenomenon that Never Existed, Instytut Adama Mickiewicza 2008, pp.48-63.

Timothy Garton Ash, The Polish Revolution: Solidarity, Yale University Press 2002 ( chapter tba]