University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Europe East and West: Film, History, and Mourning > The city at war: Postcommunism, epic cinema and postcolonial recognition

The city at war: Postcommunism, epic cinema and postcolonial recognition

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Epic films have always been part of a stable diet in the consumption of cinematic narratives. Epic cinema has the ability to use and reuse historical events for the purpose of creating a homogeneous notion of national identity. The general argument of this paper is that the postcommunist condition generates an empty space for the epic national narrative to unfold, as it leaves old power relations unresolved. I will focus on three films, which all rises out of the postcommunist condition: Attack on Leningrad (2009) tells the story of the Leningrad siege during the Second World War, Defenders of Riga (2007) centres on the short period when Latvia gained independence after the First World War and Battle of Warsaw 1920 (2011) focuses on the Miracle at Vistula when the Polish army managed to defeat the approaching Red Army. Comparing these narratives of the city at war, I will be arguing that, as epic films, they seek international audiences in the search for recognition of their present postcommunist/postcolonial ambitions of forming the nation anew after a period of communist/colonial oppression.

This event will start with a screening of Battle for Warsaw 1920 (dir. Jerzy Hoffman, 2011) and followed by Lars’ paper and discussion.

Lars Kristensen is an associate researcher at the University of Central Lancashire

This talk is part of the Europe East and West: Film, History, and Mourning series.

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