The Shoa/Holocaust is one of the defining events of the 20th century. The thoroughly planned and industrially organized genocide of over 6 million Jews and other groups surpassed by far what before was considered humanly thinkable. It has become one of the reoccurring topics in literature and moving pictures, the latter playing probably the main role in popularizing knowledge about the holocaust and in keeping its memory alive. It is the TV mini-series Holocaust and movies like Schindler’s List that warranted that the holocaust entered mainstream awareness.
This class will focus on contributions Czech, Polish and Hungarian film makers made to the corpus of Holocaust movies. We will be looking at films mainly from the late 1940ies to the late 1960ies. If time permits recent movies like the Oscar-winning films Ida (engl.: Ida, directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, PL 2013) or Saul fia (engl.: The son of Saul), directed by László Nemes, HU 2015) will also be discussed. As part of the module “Theory and Method” of the Slavic program at JLU the class will also introduce the students to film as a specific art form and familiarize them with its formal and technical possibilities.
We will be able to analyze only 10 movies. The screening of the movies will be done mostly individually at home before each class. A list of questions will be distributed for each movie which will form the starting-point for the discussion. During the first session the following list of movies will be reduced to ten (the numbered films are mandatory parts of the program):
1. Ostatni etap (The last stage). Director: Wanda Jakubowska (PL, 1948)
2. Daleká cesta (The long journey), Director: Alfréd Radok (CZ, 1949)
3. Pasażerka (Passager), Director: Andrzej Munk / Witold Lesiewicz (PL, 1963)
4. ...a pátý jezdec je strach (... and the Fifth Horseman is Fear), Director: Zbyněk Brynych (CZ, 1964)
Démanty noci (Diamands of the Night), Director: Jan Němec (CZ, 1964)
5. Obchod na korze (The Shop on Main Street), Director: Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos (CZ, 1965)
6. Apa (Father), Director: István Szabó (HU, 1966)
7. Spalovač mrtvol (The Cremator), Director: Juraj Herz (CZ, 1968)
Europa Europa (Europa Europa): Director: Agnieszka Holland (PL/D, 1990)
Sunshine (Sunshine), Director: István Szabó (HU 1999)
Musíme si pomáhat (Divided we Fall), Director: Jan Hřebejk (CZ 2000)
The pianist (The pianist), Director: Roman Polański (PL/UK/D/F 2002)
Sorstalanság (Fateless), Director: Lajos Koltai (HU 2005)
Protektor (The Protector), Director: Marek Najbrt (2009)
W ciemności (In Darkness): Director: Agnieszka Holland (PL, 2012)
Pokłosie (Aftermath), Director: Wladyslaw Pasikowski (PL, 2012)
Ida (Ida), Director: Paweł Pawlikowski (PL, 2013)
Saul fia (The son of Saul), Director: László Nemes (HU, 2015)
Suggested reading: The text book used for the introduction to film analysis will be Film Art. An Introduction (10th edition) by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson. The university library has several copies available (https://hds.hebis.de/ubgi/Record/HEB335088945). In case students want to freshen up their knowledge of the Holocaust as a historical background for the analysis of the films suggested reading is War &amp; genocide: a concise history of the holocaust by Doris Bergen which the library holds available as an e-book (https://hds.hebis.de/ubgi/Record/HEB362459169)
The class is open to any student of JLU but since it is part of the English track of JLU’s MA program Interdisciplinary studies on Eastern Europe it will be held in English.