Magic Realist Cinema in East Central Europe

Magic Realist Cinema in East Central Europe

Aga Skrodzka
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt3fgqwn
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  • Book Info
    Magic Realist Cinema in East Central Europe
    Book Description:

    Magic Realist Cinema in East Central Europe explores the interlocking complexities of two liminal concepts: magic realism and East Central Europe. Each is a fascinating hybrid that resonates with dominant currents in contemporary thought on transnationalism, globalisation and regionalism. In this critical and comprehensive survey, Aga Skrodzka moves the current debate over magic realism's political impact from literary studies to film studies. Her close textual analysis of films by directors such as Jan Švankmajer, Jan Jakub Kolski, Martin Šulík, Ivo Trajkov, Dorota Kędzierzawska, Ildikó Enyedi, Béla Tarr and Emir Kusturica is accompanied by an investigation of the socio-economic and political context in order to both study and popularise an important and unique tradition in world cinema. The directors' artistic achievements illuminate the connections between a particular aesthetics and the social structure of East Central Europe at a precise moment of contemporary history.>Provides the first comprehensive analysis of magic realism in cinemaOffers an examination of the post-socialist cinema as representative of the hybridised space and consciousness of East Central EuropeGives a chronological overview of the existing theories of magic realism to the extent in which they apply to globalised visual culturesConsiders the cinema of East Central Europe in the context of transnationalism and postcoloniality

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-6934-9
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  6. 1. VERNACULAR MAGIC REALISM IN GLOBALISING EUROPE
    (pp. 1-46)

    The cinema discussed in this volume confronts, but also preserves, what is uncanny about the history and culture of East Central Europe: the sense of being somehow alien in the house of Europe. Through the means of magic realism and a distinct vernacular focus, the films herein question and evoke this uncanny feeling, which somehow appears to be accepted by all within the filmic world, a stance of communal acquiescence more than that of consternation. In this cinematic mode, the uncanny is the status quo, recognised and affirmed by the audience, the filmmaker, the characters within the diegesis, and the...

  7. 2. THEY LIVE ON MARS: THE MAGIC OF THE PERIPHERY
    (pp. 47-88)

    InMila from Mars(Mila ot Mars), the 2004 debut feature by Bulgarian director Zornitsa Sophia (artistic alias of Zornitsa Popgantcheva), a remote Bulgarian village is playfully coded as the place that is so physically and culturally removed from the modern-day European metropolis that it might as well be Mars. Filming on location in the stunning Rhodope Mountains, the filmmaker conjures a place where dramatic nature mingles with the splendour of the ancient Thracian culture as well as the feeling of utter dejection. The village and its few aged inhabitants go on against the forces of nature and history but...

  8. 3. WOODEN MONSTERS, DEAD BODIES AND THINGS: EMBODYING THE OTHER
    (pp. 89-122)

    A few semesters ago, when asked by my department (an English department at a large land-grant research university in rural South Carolina, USA) to teach a course on World Cinema, I decided to design my syllabus around a growing body of films that, in some way, shape or form, employ magic realism to navigate the representational antipodes of cinematic realism and fantasy. Many of the films shown in our weekly screening labs were the films that constitute the subject of the ensuing narrative, films by Kusturica, Kolski and Šulík, among others. While, on the whole, these upper-division undergraduate students found...

  9. 4. BETWEEN FANTASY AND MIMESIS: CARNIVAL, CHILDREN AND CINEMA
    (pp. 123-166)

    In order to begin approaching the theory of cinematic magic realism, one has to consider the old question of cinematic specificity. Is film uniquely committed to realism or illusionism, to science or art? Much of the existing theory of the medium seems to agree that film, especially in comparison with other media, offers an exceptional space for representational realism that is somehow intensified by cinema’s hybrid investment in both art and science. Writing in the 1920s and 1930s, as one of the earliest contributors to the budding field of film theory, Jean Epstein used the wordphotogénieto refer to...

  10. EPILOGUE: THREE ENCOUNTERS
    (pp. 167-172)

    Several texts and experiences have inspired this project, but I would like to isolate three personal encounters that led me to think about the cinema of East Central Europe within the category of magic realism. All three encounters happened during my childhood in the Communist Poland of the early 1980s. Admittedly, a certain amount of nostalgia is therefore involved in this account.

    The first encounter was with the effigy of Marzanna, which, as an eight-year-old, I was instructed to carry to the stream behind my primary school building, accompanied by my third-year teacher and all my classmates. This happened on...

  11. SELECT FILMOGRAPHY
    (pp. 173-175)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 176-181)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 182-190)