Subverting space : Private, public and power in three Czechoslovak films from the 1960s and 70s
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This paper focuses on three Czechoslovak films from the Communist era: two New Wave features, the Oscar-winning Ostre SledovanéVlaky/Closely Observed Trains (Jirí Menzel, 1966) and O Slavnosti A Hostech/The Party And The Guests (Jan Nĕmec, 1966), plus a key post-Prague Spring film, Ucho/The Ear (Karel Kachyňa, 1970). All three films were banned following the 1968 Soviet invasion. This paper considers the films in the light of their use of spatial constructions and narratives; it argues that the films’ inherent subversive content is primarily articulated through spatial strategies, which also provide the films with their main motivation. Specifically, the paper examines a filmic discourse of political and social subversion which hinges on the negotiation and appropriation of space. Starting from the notion that space is produced by social agency and interaction, and from Michael Foucault’s assertion that ‘we do not live inside a void, inside of which we could place individuals and things […] we live inside a set of relations’, this paper will look at the dynamic relationship of the films’ characters to their allotted spatial situations. At the same time, narrative and visual texts will be contextualized, by relating the films’ representation of private and public space to the national context in which the films were made.
Girelli , E 2011 , ' Subverting space : Private, public and power in three Czechoslovak films from the 1960s and 70s ' Studies in Eastern European Cinema , vol 2 , no. 1 , pp. 49-59 . DOI: 10.1386/seec.2.1.49_1
Studies in Eastern European Cinema
This is an author version of this article. The published version (c) 2011 Intellect Limited is available from doi:10.1386.seec.2.1.49_1
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