This course focuses on East European directors who moved to the “West”, and mostly on Miloš Forman, Agnieszka Holland, Dušan Makavejev, Roman Polanski, and István Szabó. Comparing their East European productions with their American or Western European ones, we will both discuss the particulars of each of these authors’ work, and gain insight into the Eastern European and Western cinemas in general. We will more closely examine the cinema of filmmakers such as Miloš Forman, a director who did outstanding films in his native Czechoslovakia in the late sixties, the time of the so-called Czech New Wave, before he proceeded to make some of the most “American” films in Hollywood, films such as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The People vs. Larry Flint. We’ll also study Roman Polanski, director of the Hollywood classic Chinatown and the 2003 Academy Award winner The Pianist, and Agnieszka Holland, who first worked in her native Poland and later made outstanding films in Germany, France, Great Britain, and the USA. We will also explore the work of Hungarian István Szabó and Yugoslav Dušan Makavejev.
In addition, this course will offer a basic survey of Eastern European film production in the post-World War II period, examining the issues of filmmaking in a non-market society, the strong presence of women directors and gender-related themes in East European cinema, the vibrant tradition of experimental and animated films, and East European film in the socialist and post-socialist eras. No prerequisites.
Image: Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Academy Award for Best Actor)