POLISH 314 - Polish Cinema
Fall 2020, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Polish (POLISH)
Department: LSA Slavic Languages & Literatures
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


The course covers Polish cinema from WWII to the present, tracing the development of film styles and genres in the context of the historical, political, and cultural features of Polish society. The first wave of State Film School graduates (including Wajda, Munk, and Polanski) garnered international recognition by using realist norms in combination with intricate symbolism and absurdist allegory to critique the loss of civic values under Communism, thus utilizing the visual potentials of film language to circumvent the limitations imposed by “Socialist Realism” and State censorship. In the 1970s and 1980s, a second generation of film auteurs (including Zanussi, Holland, and Kieślowski) emerged and continued to break new ground stylistically, challenging Polish society in their “cinema of moral concern.” In the post-Communist period, Hollywood models (in particular the gangster film as a metaphor for capitalist norms) and international co-production have played significant roles. After 2000, Polish filmmakers have focused their attention on social and economic issues, gender, and questions of nationalism and ethnicity. We will analyze 14 films and discuss the accompanying reading.

Class Format:

All of the required films, readings, and lectures will be asynchronous. Weekly short quizzes on the films will help students keep pace with the course, and students will be asked to submit brief discussion questions each week. One-on-one on line conferences with the professor and the graduate student instructor, as well as small Zoom meetings on suggested paper topics, will be arranged throughout the semester. Feedback on papers before the required revisions will be conveyed as written comments and in one-on-one on-line meetings.

Assignments and on-line quizzes will be asynchronous and "open-book" in the sense that students will be able to review films and readings as they wish before responding. Grades will be based primarily on three medium-length papers and the revisions of the first two of these three papers. Due dates for the papers and the revisions will be spread throughout the semester, with a paper or a revision due every two or three weeks, beginning with the fifth week of the semester (see syllabus for details and due dates).

Canvas will be used for all asynchronous online components. Synchronous meetings with instructors will be conducted through Zoom. These meetings will be optional, except for the discussions of revisions of papers, which will be required twice during the semester. Students should have access to a camera and microphone on a computer or to a telephone.


POLISH 314 - Polish Cinema
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
Partial Term 8/31/20 - 12/10/20
002 (LAB)
Partial Term 8/31/20 - 12/10/20

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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