English 5070

Topics in Film:
Eastern European Film, 1956-2006

Winter 2007, Tuesday/Thursday, 6pm-9pm, 326 State
Steven Shaviro (313-577-5475; 5057 Woodward, room 9309; office hours Tuesday/Thursday 2-4pm and by appointment)

URL OF THIS PAGE: http://www.shaviro.com/Classes/5070W07.html

Course Description

This class is a survey of Eastern European film from 1956 to 2006. We will look at major films and directors from Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia (and its successor states), Romania, and Yugoslavia (and its successor states). The time covered includes both the Communist and the post-Communist years, and such momentous events as the Prague Spring of 1968, the fall of Communism in 1989, and the breakup of Yugoslavia in the wars of 1991-1995.

Class Requirements

Each class will consist of a film screening, followed by lecture and discussion. There is no textbook; all readings are available online, linked from the class syllabus page. (More readings will be added in the course of the semester, so be sure to check the syllabus page frequently).

Class requirements include regular attendance and participation in class discussion (20% of grade), maintaining a film diary with critical responses to all the films we see in the course of the semester (40% of grade), and two short papers (4-5 pages each, 20% of grade each).

The film diary should consist of brief discussions (three or four paragraphs, or about one page single-spaced) of each of the films we see in the course of the semester. You are allowed to skip up to three films; in other words, you must write about at least 23 of the 26 feature films we watch in the course of the semester. Students are encouraged (although not required) to post their film diaries online in the form of a blog. (See the list of blogs and online film diaries below). As the teacher of the class, I will also write about each of the films we see, and post the results on my own blog.

Schedule of Classes

January 9
Andrzej Wajda, Ashes and Diamonds (Poland, 1957)
Paul Coates on Ashes and Diamonds

January 11
Andrzej Munk, Bad Luck (Poland, 1959)
Stuart Klawans on Andrzej Munk

January 16
Roman Polanski, Knife in the Water (Poland, 1962)
Peter Cowie on Knife in the Water

January 18
Jiri Menzel, Closely Watched Trains (Czechoslovakia, 1966)
Richard Schickel on Closely Watched Trains

January 23
Milos Forman, Loves of a Blonde (Czechoslovakia, 1966)
Interview with Milos Forman
David Kehr on Loves of a Blonde

January 25
Vera Chytilova, Daisies (Czechoslovakia, 1967)
From Kinoeye: essays on Vera Chytilova
Owen Hatherley on Daisies

January 30
Jaromil Jires, The Joke (Czechoslovakia, 1969)
Laurel Harris on Czech New Wave cinema
First installment of film diaries due.

February 1
Elmar Klos and Jan Kadar, The Shop on Main Street (Czechoslovakia, 1966)
Jan Kadar on The Shop on Main Street

February 6
Miklos Jancso, The Red and the White (Hungary, 1968)
From Kinoeye: essays on Miklos Jancso
Ian Johnston on The Red and the White

February 8
Peter Bacso, The Witness (Hungary, 1969)

February 13
Marta Meszaros, Adoption (Hungary, 1975)
Interview with Marta Meszaros

February 15
Dusan Makavejev, WR: Mysteries of the Organism (Yugoslavia, 1971)
Gary Morris on Makavejev
Owen Hatherley on WR
Nevenka Stanovic on WR

February 20
Slobodan Sijan, Who Is Singing Over There? (Yugoslavia, 1980)
Wikipedia on Who Is Singing Over There?

February 22
Goran Paskaljevic, Special Treatment (Yugoslavia, 1980)

February 27
Agnieszka Holland, Provincial Actors (Poland, 1978)
Second installment of film diaries due.

March 1
Krzystof Kieslowski, A Short Film About Killing (Poland, 1988)
Doug Coummings on Kieslowski

March 6
Ildiko Enyedi, My Twentieth Century (Hungary, 1989)
Katherine Gyékényesi Gatto on My Twentieth Century
First paper due.

March 8

March 20
Emir Kusturica, Underground (Yugoslavia, 1995)
Ed Gonzalez on Underground
Dina Iordanova on the Underground controversy (can only be accessed via Wayne Library)

March 22
(Class cancelled)

March 27
Danis Tanovic, No Man's Land (Bosnia, 2001)
Ilya Marritz on No Man's Land

March 29
Jan Svankmajer, Lunacy (Czech Republic, 2005)
Jan Svankmajer discusses Lunacy

April 3
Srdjan Dragojevic, The Wounds (Yugoslavia, 1998)
Third installment of film diaries due.

April 5
Pjer Zalica, Fuse (Bosnia, 2003)

April 10
Lucian Pintilie, The Oak (Romania, 1993)
Odette Caufman-Blumenfeld on The Oak

April 12
Cristi Puiu, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Romania, 2005)

April 17
Bela Tarr, Damnation (Hungary, 1988)
Interview with Bela Tarr
Peter Hames on Bela Tarr
Jonathan Rosenbaum on Bela Tarr

April 19
(class cancelled)
[Optional: rent on DVD: Nimrod Antal, Kontroll (Hungary, 2005)]

April 24
Fourth (final) installment of film diaries due.

April 26
Optional additional screening: Gyorgi Palfi, Taxidermia (Hungary, 2006)
Second paper due.

Blogs and online film diaries