The summary of the Review of Totalitarian Cinema

The three-day Review of Totalitarian Cinema was a time for the reflection on the mechanisms of propaganda cinema. The participants of the meetings watched 7 films which are representative of Soviet cinema, German cinema and Polish socialist realism. Films were mainly addressed to academic youth and high school students. It was with them in mind that we enriched meetings with workshops led by film critics and enthusiasts of European cinematography. Participants received the necessary knowledge, allowing to see in the texts of culture mechanisms of manipulation. Together, we "were reading" film works considered today as propaganda cinema typical models. We decided that such a form of reflection will make young people feel at all manifestations of manipulation in the modern world and realize them how important is knowledge and criticism in perception of each form of texts.

The film meetings were also complemented by a meeting-debate on the genesis and mechanisms of European propaganda cinema. Discussants discussed how to define propaganda cinema and under what circumstances was this form of cinematography born. The discussion was dominated by reflections on the sources of European propaganda cinema and their historical context. Each of the panelists had the opportunity to present their ranking list of "cinema propaganda masterpieces". We also faced the question: Can a propaganda film be an art?

Among the panelists and people who lead workshop meetings there were experienced experts in European cinema and propaganda history:

prof. Tadeusz Lubelski – film critic and historian specializing in the history of Polish film and the history of European cinematography, a Polish philologist by education, a member of the European Film Academy, author of the book entitled Historia kina polskiego. The book was awarded in 2009 with the Polish Film Institute Award for the best film book of the year. He also published a book entitled Historia niebyła kina PRL.

Grzegorz Pieńkowski – chairman of the Polish Council of the International Federation of Film Societies, lecturer of the film history at the Film and Television Academy in Warsaw and the Music Academy, co-founder of the Lubuskie Lato Filmowe in Łagów and the Letnia Akademia Filmowa in Zwierzyniec;

PhD Tomasz Adamski - culture expert, film expert, academic teacher, secretary of the National Olympiad of Media Knowledge, co-founder of the International Short Film Festival "Żubroffka", author of many short documentary films in Poland and abroad (including in South Sudan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Belarus and Lithuania);

Sc. D. Wojciech Śleszyński – director of the Sybir Memorial Museum, historian, political scientist, researcher of the history of the eastern territories of the Second Polish Republic and the Soviet occupation of these territories, author of books: Wyzwolenie czy okupacja? Stosunek społeczności zamieszkujących pogranicze polsko-litewsko-białoruskie, Okupacja sowiecka na Białostocczyźnie w latach 1939-1941. Propaganda i indoktrynacja, Białystok w sowieckiej fotografii propagandowej 1939-1941. In 2018 he published a monography Historia w służbie polityki. Zmiany polityczne a konstruowanie przekazu historycznego na ziemiach białoruskich w XX i XXI wieku.

The meetings were co-led and substantively supported by Adam Radziszewski - longtime activist and cultural worker, creator of the national film seminar Białystok DKF Forum, co-organizer of the Summer Film Academy in Zwierzyniec, originator and coordinator of the Podlasie Culture Academy at the Białystok Cultural Center, member of the Awards Chapter of the Polish Film Institute 2011, supporting the Eastern Film Academy - a project implemented in 2018 by the Sybir Memorial Museum from the funds of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

We would like to thank all participants for coming and invite you to the next meetings at the Eastern Film Academy.

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
from the Culture Promotion Fund.


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