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"Wanna Be in the New York Times?": Epic History and War City as Global Cinema
University of Skövde, School of Informatics. University of Skövde, The Informatics Research Centre. (Media, Technology and Culture (MTEC))
2016 (English)In: Contested Interpretations of the Past in Polish, Russian and Ukrainian Film: Screen as Battlefield / [ed] Sander Brouwer, Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2016, 21-39 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The three films discussed in this paper have the city as part of their titles: Leningrad/Attack on Leningrad (2009) is directed by Aleksander Buravsky and tells the story of the Leningrad siege during the Second World War, featuring an international cast of well-known actors, such as Gabriel Byrne, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Mira Sorvino. Rigas Sargi/Defenders of Riga (2007), directed by Aigars Grauba, is a co-production with an Estonian film company, and centres on the short period when Latvia gained independence after the First World War. Jerzy Hoffman’s 1920 Bitwa Warszawska/Battle of Warsaw 1920 (2011) is also set in the post-World War I period, focusing on the Miracle at Vistula, when the Polish army managed to defeat the approaching Red Army. These three films are highly commercial products that seek large audiences, and increasingly international audiences, which would return the financial support invested in them. This differentiates them from classical postcolonial cinema and the echelons of high art, placing them within the realms of popular and mass culture. The paper will first draw on concepts of cinematic representation within a postcolonial framework, and, second, look at the representation of the city as a tool with which we can view these films as more than just commercial products unworthy of our attention. The city is what unites these three films on the one hand, but, on the other, it is also what makes them diverge from each other both cinematically and nationally. With regard to the postcolonial, I will argue that these films can be examined as expressions of a post-imperial condition. There is a desire to narrate the nation anew, as if liberated from a colonial oppression. However, the old structures of oppression have not disappeared, but rather merged into new ones.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2016. 21-39 p.
Keyword [en]
Leningrad/Attack on Leningrad (2009), Rigas Sargi/Defenders of Riga (2007), 1920 Bitwa Warszawska/Battle of Warsaw 1920 (2011), nationalism, struggle for independence, postcolonialism, popular cinema, city narrative
National Category
Studies on Film
Research subject
Humanities and Social sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11806ISBN: 978-9004311726OAI: diva2:891748
Available from: 2016-01-07 Created: 2016-01-07 Last updated: 2016-06-08Bibliographically approved

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Kristensen, Lars
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School of InformaticsThe Informatics Research Centre
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