We are proud to present to you the second special issue of the academic journal Pleograf. The Polish Film Academy Quarterly aimed at our English-speaking readers. For our first English volume, published last spring, we have selected some articles ranging from our journal’s very first issue up to the 2/2018 edition. Currently, we present to you an assortment of texts from the issues 3/2018 to 4/2019. Hopefully, we will be able to continue the tradition of introducing a yearly selection of essays, interviews, and academic texts published in our journal.
The current collection opens with Justyna Budzik’s hauntological essay Haunted Times. Specters in New Polish Cinema and Photography originally published in vol. 4/2018. In it, the author compares the images of socialist–modernist housing estates created in the film United States of Love (2016, dir. Tomasz Wasilewski) to those from photographic projects by Nicholas Grosspiere, Marek M. Berezowski, and Paulina Korobkiewicz. Budzik analyses these images in the context of Jacques Derrida’s hauntology and Mark Fisher’s cultural studies, as well as local iterations of similar concepts. Another author concerned with contemporary Polish cinema is Magdalena Podsiadło, whose essay Three Ecocritical Voices in Polish Women’s Cinema was first published in our 3/2019 issue. Podsiadło focuses on selected films by women directors through the lens of Timothy Morton’s dark ecology and Anna Barcz’s ecological realism to analyze how their films portray the crisis of the Anthropocene and call for new cinematic, philosophical, and political perspectives. In contrast, Sebastian Smoliński’s The Age of Auteurs. Elders’ Cinema and the Twilight of the Polish Masters,originally published alongside Budzik in vol. 4/2018, focuses on the work of male film directors, specifically: on the late cinema of aging Polish masters. The author situates their work in the context of the writings of André Bazin and Andrew Sarris and concludes by pointing out the distinguishing characteristics of the elders’ cinema: hyperbole, confession, and nostalgia.
With the next essay, Antoni Michnik’s The Strength of the Nape of the Neck — Jerzy Skolimowski’s “The Shout” first published in our 4/2019 issue on sound and music, we step firmly into the past. The author analyses the soundscape of Skolimowski’s film against the backdrop of the cultural landscape of 1970s Great Britain and the 1920s post-World War I context of Robert Graves’ short story which the film is based on. The main character’s supernatural shout becomes a focal point that culminates cultural tensions and fears of a traumatized society in crisis. Next, we have Justyna Jaworska’s tender portrait Zdzisław Maklakiewicz as a ‘Slow and Independent’ Actor from issue 2/2019 on boredom, slowness, and stagnation. Jaworska posits the distinctive Maklakiewicz as a Polish Bogart who gave his impenetrable face to our native slow cinema and demonstrates how his restrained expression and slowacting manner exposed the boredom and apathy of life in the Polish People’s Republic of the 1960s and 1970s. An entirely different, though equally affectionate outlook, is presented in Klara Cykorz’s think piece Re-remembered Dolls, first published in the PERSPECTIVE column of our vol. 3/2019. The author’s seemingly preposterous claim that directing is a feminine profession serves as a departure point for delving into the past and finding there a fresh and radical outlook on both the history and future of cinema as well as the individual viewing experience.
We conclude our special issue with the interview Only memories are left, so we sing them. Krzysztof Marciniak in conversation with Jaśmina Wójcik and Dominik Strycharski first published in vol. 4/2019. Wójcik and Strycharski talk about the fascinating process of creating their film, Symphony of the Ursus Factory, in a continuous dialogue with the community of former factory workers and reflect on the challenges of finding the right balance between the composed structure of the titular symphony and the documentary character of this unique project. This conversation connects the themes of looking into the past, the soundscape, work, and participation, scattered throughout this special edition of Pleograf.
As always, we would like to extend a cordial invitation to engage not only with this current issue but more generally with Polish film and its creators. Our readers are always more than welcome to voice their opinions, propose their takes and become part of the conversation. As per our editorial motto: we write about Polish cinema in particular.
The editorial team
Haunted Times. Specters in New Polish Cinema and Photography
Three Ecocritical Voices in Polish Women’s Cinema
The Age of Auteurs. Elders’ Cinema and the Twilight of the Polish Masters
The Strength of the Nape of the Neck — Jerzy Skolimowski’s “The Shout”
Zdzisław Maklakiewicz as a “Slow and Independent” Actor
PERSPECTIVE: Re-remembered dolls
Only memories are left, so we sing them. Krzysztof Marciniak in conversation with Jaśmina Wójcik and Dominik Strycharski