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Polish Cinema: A History

Second Edition

Marek Haltof

512 pages, 40 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-972-1 $150.00/£107.00 Hb Not Yet Published (October 2018)

ISBN  978-1-78533-974-5 $39.95/£28.00 Pb Not Yet Published (October 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-973-8 eBook Not Yet Published

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“Haltof's comprehensive, lucid, and refreshing critical history of Polish cinema significantly expands the existing literature on the topic in English… Essential for all serious libraries and very useful in the undergraduate or graduate classroom.” • Choice

“What makes Haltof's book so wonderful is that, like a great filmmaker, he uses his subject to craft a much deeper and complex story of the Polish people and their search for a national identity ... With clarity and fluidity he makes Poland come alive.” Film and History

“An informed and concise yet exhaustive account of Polish cinema.” Slavic Review


First published in 2002, Marek Haltof’s seminal volume was the first comprehensive English-language study of Polish cinema, providing a much-needed survey of one of Europe’s most distinguished—yet unjustly neglected—film cultures. Since then, seismic changes have reshaped Polish society, European politics, and the global film industry. This thoroughly revised and updated edition takes stock of these dramatic shifts to provide an essential account of Polish cinema from the nineteenth century to today, covering such renowned figures as Kieślowski, Skolimowski, and Wajda along with vastly expanded coverage of documentaries, animation, and television, all set against the backdrop of an ever-more transnational film culture.

Marek Haltof is a Professor at Northern Michigan University. His recent books include Screening Auschwitz: Wanda Jakubowska's The Last Stage and the Politics of Commemoration (2018), Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema (second edition, 2015), and Polish Film and the Holocaust: Politics and Memory (2012).

Subject: Film Studies General Cultural Studies 20th Century History
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


List of Illustrations


Chapter 1. Polish Silent Cinema (1896–1929)
Chapter 2. The Sound Period of the 1930s: Adaptations, Patriotic Melodramas, and Films in Yiddis
Chapter 3. Cinema, World War II, and the Postwar Construction of National Identity (1939–1948)
Chapter 4. Screen Stalinism: Socialist Realist Films (1949–1954)
Chapter 5. Ashes and Diamonds: The Polish School (1955–1963)
Chapter 6. Adaptations, Personal Style, and Popular Cinema (1964–1975)
Chapter 7. Camouflage and Rough Treatment: The “Cinema of Distrust” (1976–1981)
Chapter 8. The Cinema of Martial Law and Afterwards (1982–1988)
Chapter 9. A Fistful of Dollars: Polish Cinema after the Wall Came Down (1989–1998)
Chapter 10. Adapting the National Literary Canon and Reclaiming the Past (1999–2004)
Chapter 11. The Transforming Years (2005–)
Select Filmography
Select Bibliography
Index of Names
Index of Films

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