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Masculinities in Polish, Czech and Slovak Cinema

Masculinities in Polish, Czech and Slovak Cinema: Black Peters and Men of Marble

Ewa Mazierska
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Masculinities in Polish, Czech and Slovak Cinema
    Book Description:

    Gender, especially masculinity, is a perspective rarely applied in discourses on cinema of Eastern/Central Europe.Masculinities in Polish, Czech and Slovak Cinemaexposes an English-speaking audience to a large proportion of this region's cinema that previously remained unknown, focusing on the relationship between representation of masculinity and nationality in the films of two and later three countries: Poland, Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The objective of the book is to discuss the main types of men populating Polish, Czech and Slovak films: that of soldier, father, heterosexual and homosexual lover, against a rich political, social and cultural background. Czech, Slovak and Polish cinema appear to provide excellent material for comparison as they were produced in neighbouring countries which for over forty years endured a similar political system - state socialism.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-216-4
    Subjects: Film Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Until the early 1990s the term ‘gender studies’ was immediately associated with the studies of women. Women were typically compared and contrasted with an ‘eternal man’, whose essence did not change over time and who remained the same in different cultures. However, due to a number of factors – such as the rise of feminism and a male backlash against this ideology, the development of queer theory, as well as some significant social and economic changes in the developed world – the male condition has been discovered as an object of serious academic discourses, a topic of a popular discussion in the...

  6. Chapter 1 Polish and Czechoslovak Histories, Cultures and Cinemas
    (pp. 7-30)

    Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Czechoslovakia before 1993) are situated in Central Europe. Such a location has allowed their citizens to perceive themselves as belonging to Europe, understood as a particular system of values which include tolerance, democracy and multiculturalism, or even as being at the heart of Europe, spreading the best European traditions and bridging the gap between the Slavic East and German and Roman West (Holý 1996; Ćerný 2001; Kroutvor 2001; Davies 2005).¹ On the other hand, during the course of history it brought significant limitations, resulting from being squeezed between its more powerful neighbours, Germany and...

  7. Chapter 2 Madmen, Martyrs, Dodgers: Men and War
    (pp. 31-82)

    Although fewer men were ever soldiers than fathers or lovers, it is widely accepted that there is a particularly strong connection between masculinity and partaking in a war. Graham Dawson argues that the soldier or, more precisely, the soldier hero, constitutes a hegemonic form of masculinity. Military virtues such as aggression, strength, courage and endurance have repeatedly been defined as the inherent qualities of manhood, whose apogee is attainable only in battle. Accordingly, they constitute a model which men are asked to emulate and a norm against which they are assessed (Dawson 1994: 1). In a similar vein George Mosse...

  8. Chapter 3 Who Is My Father? Representation of Fathers, Sons and Family Life in Polish and Czechoslovak films
    (pp. 83-130)

    There are several reasons to include fathers in my study. Firstly, since the 1960s the topic of fatherhood features prominently in research on men. We now find more books written about men as fathers than about men in any other role and those on men in general typically include long passages devoted to fatherhood. Consequently, writing about masculinity without mentioning fatherhood can be compared to ignoring motherhood in research on women. Secondly, in social theories, particularly Freudianism and Marxism, both drawing heavily on anthropology, the study of the family (real or mythical, current or past, civilised or primitive), with specific...

  9. Chapter 4 Larks on a String, or Men in Love
    (pp. 131-176)

    This chapter will analyse the love life of Polish and Czechoslovak men as represented in film. Yet ‘love’ means different things to different people, as well as in different periods and cultural contexts; therefore it is useful to map out the territory to be explored. Denis de Rougemont notes that, ‘Classical Greek used at least sixteen terms to designate love in all its forms:erōsfor physical love,agapēfor altruistic love,philiafor tender or erotic feelings, etc.’ (de Rougemont 1983:5). I will compare all types of loving relationships with ‘romantic love’, because I believe that this is a...

  10. Chapter 5 You Will Not Find Much? Construction of Men’s ‘Other Sexualities’ in Polish and Czechoslovak Cinema
    (pp. 177-214)

    The first part of the title of this chapter, ‘You will not find much’, is borrowed from an article by the Swiss Slavist, Rolf Simmen. Simmen received this discouraging answer from an employee of the Czech film archive when he visited the institution to identify Czechoslovak films with homosexual motifs (Simmen 2006). My aim in this chapter is similar to Simmen’s but I include Polish films. Neither is the answer that I receive substantially different from his, although my Polish colleagues are able to provide me with two or three titles of Polish films about homosexuals, whilst their Czech and...

  11. Conclusions: Between Fate and Emptiness
    (pp. 215-218)

    In conclusion I want to look again at men in Polish, Czech and Slovak films from a bird’s eye view, asking about what affected their lives and identities most and whether they were happy?’ My answer is that the majority of them came across more as products of history and ideology or, more exactly, histories and ideologies, than as independent agents. Sometimes the male characters gave in unreflectively to circumstances, as if oblivious to the alternative values and lifestyles of those they chose. On other occasions, they were aware of them and even tried to take advantage of them, but...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 219-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-250)