Return to Democracy or Constant Crisis? Polish Cinema after 1989

Return to Democracy or Constant Crisis? Polish Cinema after 1989

Dr Elżbieta Durys, Lodz University

April 14th, 2010. 7pm. Walker Ames Room, Kane Hall

During and after the 34th Polish Film Festival, which was held on
September 14-19, 2009 in Gdynia, an astonishing thing occurred. In
day-to-day reports, journalists were confused by the large amount of
quality movies to discuss. People from the surrounding urban area,
Trójmiasto, wanted to see Polish movies. Interest and demand were rising
daily. It was almost impossible for the average viewer to buy tickets
for the open screenings. Critics celebrated the fact that now they have
something to discuss besides what is wrong with the Polish film
industry. Some of them even announced the rebirth of “the Polish
school.” Members of the jury had problems not with which one of the
movies to choose for the Award (in the past it had happened that none
were worth awarding), but because there were so many good movies to be
honored. Polish people got excited and very eager to see (or see again)
Snow White and Russian Red (Wojna polsko-ruska), The Reverse (Rewers) or
Dark House (Dom zły). In my presentation I would like to concentrate on
the period that followed the last flourishing of Polish cinema, which
occurred in the 1970s. I would like not only to raise the question of
why such a vivid, creative and prolific national cinema suffered such a
long crisis, but also try to name some probable answers.

Elżbieta Durys Ph.D., a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, is an
Assistant Professor at University of Lodz (Poland). Her research
interests focus on film studies, anthropology of culture, communication
and gender. She is the author of numerous articles on film that have
appeared in journals and in anthologies. She is the coeditor of
Wizerunki kobiet i mężczyzn w kulturze(Representing Gender in Culture)
(2005), Kino amerykańskie: Dzieła (American Cinema: The Works) (2006),
Kino amerykańskie: Twórcy (American Cinema: The Authors) (2007). In 2009
she published a book on John Cassavetes’ oeuvre, Mieliśmy tu mały
problem… O twórczości Johna Cassavetesa
(Just a Little Problem That Came
Up… The Works of John Cassavetes). During the academic year 2009—2010
she is conducting her research on American cop cinema at the Department
of Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas at Austin.