SLAVIC 312 - Central European Cinema
Section: 001
Term: FA 2019
Subject: Slavic Languages and Literatures (SLAVIC)
Department: LSA Slavic Languages & Literatures
Requirements & Distribution:
Advisory Prerequisites:
A knowledge of Russian is not required.
Other Course Info:
Taught in English.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

During four decades of Communist Party rule, the film industries of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia were under state control. One positive result of this was ample funding for serious films about social and political topics; one serious drawback was the existence of a censorship apparatus which made criticism of the policies of the existing regimes very difficult (though not impossible). Nonetheless, in certain thematic areas, particularly those dealing with racial and ethnic intolerance and with the plight of women in patriarchal societies, filmmakers in East Central Europe were able to be more incisive, frank, and provocative than is generally possible within the profit-driven, entertainment-oriented Hollywood film industry. This is not to say that the Communist regimes themselves gave priority to ameliorating the living conditions of their ethnic minorities or of women. But talented and committed filmmakers were able to take advantage of the progressive official pronouncements of these regimes with regard to ethnic and gender issues in order to craft powerful films, films which the regimes had no grounds to suppress or censor.

This course will study some of the most important films made in four thematic categories:

  1. the Holocaust — the reactions of people in East Central Europe to the genocidal plans of the Nazis, from indifference and collaboration to heroic acts of altruism
  2. ethnic discrimination and its consequences in more recent years — the depressed economic status of the Roma (Gypsies); animosity among Croats, Serbs, Moslem Bosnians and Albanians, leading to Yugoslavia's past and present civil wars — as well as the countervailing examples of a commonality of humanistic values and peaceful coexistence among people of these ethnicities
  3. women's lives under state socialism — women in the work force in large numbers, but plagued by a "double" or "triple" burden, with continued primary responsibility for domestic work and child care, as well as by persistent patriarchal attitudes toward sex and marriage in society as a whole
  4. the response of Central Europe's leading women filmmakers, who, in different contexts and with different stylistic approaches, have presented heroines who rebel and struggle against the patriarchal order
We will view and discuss films from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia, and Macedonia dealing with the above issues. We also will give attention to the artistic structure of the films — how they go about transmitting their themes with power and emotion. Evaluation will be based on class participation and three short (5-6 page) papers; all students must write a paper for Unit I, and then for two of the remaining three units (the course is divided into four units).

Course Requirements:

Three papers.

SLAVIC 312 - Central European Cinema
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:00PM
002 (LAB)
W 7:00PM - 10:00PM
003 (DIS)
Th 3:00PM - 4:00PM
004 (DIS)
Th 4:00PM - 5:00PM
005 (DIS)
F 11:00AM - 12:00PM
006 (DIS)
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM
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