Special issue

Dear readers,

we are happy to present to you a special issue of the academic journal Pleograf. The Polish Film Academy Quarterly. The idea of the Polish Film Academy – a comprehensive course of Polish film history which every year attracts hundreds of students across several cities – has grown from a love of film in general and of Polish cinema in particular. Cinephilia has no national colors but, for some viewers, it is the films that are especially close to their reality – whether natural or stylized, grotesquely deformed or beautifully embellished – that make their hearts beat faster. This particular love of local cinema is also what drives the editors, authors, and readers of our journal  an academic magazine dedicated entirely to Polish cinema and film culture: its history, contemporaneity, and future. Pleograf aims to be like a good film: well-crafted and attentive to detail, thorough and conscious of its cultural and social contexts, at once somewhat ambitious and intended for a wide audience. It is with the intention of broadening this audience that we have gathered a representative selection of some of our finest and most interesting articles in order to present to you this special issue of our journal aimed at our English-speaking readers.

The issue opens with Aleksander Kmak’s essay on masculinity and corporeality in Andrzej Wajda’s selected films, originally published in the 1/2018 issue on the body in cinema. The author focuses on the male characters’ sensuality and subtle eroticism, analyses how the presentation of their bodies hints at their agency and passivity, while simultaneously retaining a broader perspective on the filmed image viewed through the lens of sensuous film theory. A similar type of double-edged perspective, once again applied to the work of Andrzej Wajda, is deployed in Matylda Szewczyk’s comparative analysis of Everything for Sale and Sweet Rush through theories of self-reflexivity in film. The text, published originally in our inaugural monographic issue on the renowned director (1/2016), takes as its point of departure the similarities between the two films, only to arrive at conclusions regarding some very different ways of thinking about cinema, its meaning and the way it is created which Wajda developed across the years. Complementary to Kmak’s text on the three male bodies, is Sebastian Jagielski’s study of the images of three women – the glamorous movie stars of Polish communist cinema. Published originally in our 4/2016 issue Back to the Stars, the article is an attempt at outlining the specifics of a ‘communist star system’ and mapping some of the nuances and hardships of the precarious position of the female film stars of the 1960s.

Also taken from the 4/2016 issue is Aleksandra Wierzba’s historical essay on the producer, director and distributor Joseph Green – a ‘one-man film industry’ and the primary creator of the Golden Age of Yiddish Cinema in Poland. Wierzba tells the fascinating story of the ingenious and innovative Jewish actor-turned-entrepreneur whose business model established a successful early version of vertical integration in film production. A somewhat different perspective is presented in Katarzyna Mąka-Malatyńska’s text on Polish creative documentaries, originally published in the 3/2017 issue of our journal on documentary filmmaking. The author links two interesting contemporary attempts at making a creative documentary, Piotr Stasik’s Opera About Poland (2017) and Marcin Strauchold’s Plica Polonica (2017), back to the work of seminal 1970s filmmaker Wojciech Wiszniewski, whose work inspired generations of filmmakers not only due to its piercing and apt portrayal of the realities of state socialism but also because of his remarkably original film language. The documentary angle is continued in the interview with Karolina Bielawska and Anna Zamecka, conducted by Łukasz Maciejewski, also for the 3/2017 issue. The two young female directors and authors of award-winning documentaries, talk in-depth about their work process, their different paths to filmmaking, the position of women in Polish cinema and the condition of contemporary Polish documentary.

Our purpose in Pleograf is to strike up a conversation – that is why we aim to conclude every issue of our journal with reviews of newly published books on Polish cinema. In this issue, Iwona Kurz sinks her teeth into the updated second edition of Marek Haltof’s seminal Polish Cinema. A History, while Małgorzata Bugaj presents an in-depth reading of Ewa Mazierska’s Poland Daily. Economy, Work, Consumption and Social Class in Polish Cinema. Both reviews concern books published originally in English with the intention of not only encouraging non-native readers to delve into Polish cinema and learn about its historical and social contexts but also simply – to watch Polish films. This is an invitation we would like to extend to all of you, our readers – to enjoy the articles, to watch the films and perhaps to write for a future issue of Pleograf and become part of the conversation.

The editorial team


tel. +48  694 437 428 (sekretariat Redakcji)
e-mail: pleograf@fina.gov.pl

Adres redakcji:
Filmoteka Narodowa - Instytut Audiowizualny
ul. Wałbrzyska 3/5
02-739 Warszawa

ISSN 2451-1994



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