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Eastern European New Waves

Katie Trumpener, University of Chicago, ktrumpen@midway.uchicago.edu

Spring, 2000 
(graduate and undergraduate course)

Throughout Eastern Europe, New Wave filmmaking emerged in the late 1950s as part of a larger political and cultural de-Stalinization process and in response to earlier modes of Communist film culture. This course follows the attempts of filmmakers in Poland, the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia to reform socialism (and the cinema as an institution), and their search for forms adequate to describe political life and historical experience in their full complexity.

PLEASE NOTE: Prior exposureto/knowledge of Eastern Europe, its languages and cinemas NOT required. In our attempt to explore and reconsider the film history of a heterogeneous region, in fact, we will need as a class to pool all of our collective knowledge!

Introduction. Modernism, Socialist Realism: clips from
Mother Krause Goes to Heaven
(Piel Jutzi, Germany, 1930);
Kuhle Wampe (Slatan Dudow, Germany, 1932);
Fate of Women (Slatan Dudow, GDR, 1951)

Rethinking the War
The Cranes are Flying (USSR, Mikhail Kalatazov, 1957)
Ashes and Diamonds (Poland, Andrzej Wajda, 1958, 101 min.)
I Was Nineteen (GDR, Konrad Wolf, 1968)

Rethinking Style: Neorealism, Expressionism, Naturalism
Berlin, Schönhauser Corner (GDR, Gerhard Klein, 1957, video)
House Under the Rocks (Hungary, Károly Makk, 1958)
Lissy (GDR, Konrad Wolf, 1957, 89 m.)
Land of Angels (Hungary, György Révész, 1962)

Rethinking Power: Fascism, Stalinism
The Passenger (Poland, Andrzej Munk, 1963, 1 hr.)
A Report on the Party and the Guests (Czech. Jan Nemec, 1966, 71 m.)
The Red and the White (Hungary, Miklos Jansco, 1968, 92 min.)
Cold Days (Hungary, András Kovács, 1966, 102 m.)
Love Affair: or, The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (Yugoslavia, Dusan Majavejev, 1967, 70 min.)
Father (Hungary, Istvan Szabo, 1966, 89 min.)

Documenting Everyday Life
Born in 45 (GDR, Jürgen Böttcher, 1965/1989)
Loves of a Blonde (Czechoslovakia, Milos Forman, 1965, 88 min.)

Rural Life: Rethinking Culture, History, Engagement
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (USSR, Sergei Paradzhanov, 1965, 99)
Structure of Crystals (Poland, Krzysztof Zanussi, 1969, 76 m.)
Land of Suns (Hungary, Ferenc Kósa, 1965/67)

Memory, Reconstruction, Contingency
Man of Marble (Poland, Wajda, 160 m.)
The Mirror (USSR, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1977)
Blind Chance (Poland, Krzysztof Kieslowski, 118 m.)

Requirements. For all: one 1-page position paper, circulated to classmates via email or handout.
Undergraduates: 2 papers (each c. 5 pages, due  May 31) PLUS final exam (during finals week)
Graduates: 1 final paper (15-20 pp.), due May 31.

Suggested topics for position paper:
Your own questions about/a reading of a specific film on the syllabus (please circulate in electronic or paper form in ADVANCE of class
discussion).

Historical and/or film-historical background to a specific film or director or cinema.
Historical background on relevant aspects of Communist film culture; crises in postwar E. European history
Read up and report on controversies around a particular film or set of films (i.e. GDR "Rabbit" Films of 1965-6) or director (i.e. Paradzhanov, Tarkovksy).

Film censorship in a particular country or era
Any aspect of studio organization, fan culture, film criticism, film reception. Comparisons between Eastern and Western European (or American) film culture. For those who lived in or visited pre-1989 Eastern Europe: A report on remembered conditions for film viewing (cinephile culture; atmosphere of cinema; cult films; films on television)

Report (including summary of argument and, if appropriate, critique of position) on books below, other relevant books or important article on individual films or national cinemas.

Suggested preliminary reading
Mira and Antonin Liehm, The Most Important Art: Soviet & Eastern European Film After 1945.
Antonin Liehm, Closely Watched Trains
Istvan Nemeskürty, Word and Image--History of the Hungarian Cinema
Boleslaw Michalek and Frank Turaj, The Modern Cinema of Poland.
Ralf Schenk, ed., Das zweite Leben der Filmstadt Babelsberg 1946-92.
John Sandford and Sean Allen, eds., DEFA.
Daniel Goulding, ed., Post New Wave Cinema in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe

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