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Since his death in 1996, Krzysztof Kieslowski has remained the best-known contemporary Polish filmmaker and one of the most popular and respected European directors, internationally renowned for his ambitious Decalogue and Three Colors trilogy. In this new addition to the Directors'Cuts series, Marek Haltof provides a comprehensive study of Kieslowski's cinema, discussing industrial practices in Poland and stressing that the director did not fit the traditional image of a "great" East-Central European auteur. He draws a fascinating portrait of the stridently independent director's work, noting that Kieslowski was not afraid to express unpopular views in film or in life. Haltof also shows how the director's work remains unique in the context of Polish documentary and narrative cinema.
During World War II Poland lost more than six million people, including about three million Polish Jews who perished in the ghettos and extermination camps built by Nazi Germany in occupied Polish territories. This book is the first to address the representation of the Holocaust in Polish film and does so through a detailed treatment of several films, which the author frames in relation to the political, ideological, and cultural contexts of the times in which they were created. Following the chronological development of Polish Holocaust films, the book begins with two early classics: Wanda Jakubowska's The Last Stage (1948) and Aleksander Ford's Border Street (1949), and next explores the Polish School period, represented by Andrzej Wajda's A Generation (1955) and Andrzej Munk's The Passenger (1963). Between 1965 and 1980 there was an "organized silence" regarding sensitive Polish-Jewish relations resulting in only a few relevant films until the return of democracy in 1989 when an increasing number were made, among them Krzysztof Kieślowski's Decalogue 8 (1988), Andrzej Wajda's Korczak (1990), Jan Jakub Kolski's Keep Away from the Window (2000), and Roman Polański's The Pianist (2002). An important contribution to film studies, this book has wider relevance in addressing the issue of Poland's national memory.
In the years since World War II, Poland has developed one of Europe's most distinguished film cultures. However, in spite of the importance of Polish cinema this is a domain in need of systematic study. This book is the first comprehensive study of Polish cinema from the end of the 19th century to the present. It provides not only an introduction to Polish cinema within a socio-political and economic context, but also to the complexities of East-Central European cinema and politics.
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