Past Continuous: Conflicting Historical Legacies in Contemporary East European Cinema

Monday, 12 May 2014, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, Blickle Kino, 21er Haus

IWM Film Retrospective 2014

Curated by Izabela Kalinowska-Blackwood and Oksana Sarkisova

The Dark House (Dom zły)
Director: Wojciech Smarzowski (Poland, 2009, 105 minutes, OmU)


The film weaves together two narratives that develop at disparate points in time. A criminal investigation into a gruesome crime that occurred in the Polish countryside in 1978 provides a pretext for a closer look at the Polish People’s Republic during the time of martial law, which had been imposed to quench the Solidarity movement in December of 1981. The only person to emerge alive from a triple murder is brought back to the same location for a crime scene reconstruction. It quickly becomes obvious that the police do not have much interest in solving the crime; instead, the investigators are primarily interested in taking care of their own business, and covering up their own dirty secrets. Moral corruption and hopelessness permeate the world at the dusk of the communist system.

Followed by a discussion with:

Izabela Kalinowska-Blackwood is Associate Professor of Comparative Slavic studies. Her Research interests include Polish and Soviet/Russian cinemas, gendered notions of identity, nationalism, and colonial and post-colonial studies.

Oksana Sarkisova is Associate Research Fellow at the Open Society Archive and the Department of Legal Studies, Central European University, Budapest. Since 2004 she is Program Director of the annual Verzio International Documentary Human Rights Film Festival in Budapest.

Timothy Snyder is the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University and Permanent Fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences. His most recent book is Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin.

Entrance fee: 5 Euros

Blickle Kino:
21er Haus, Schweizergarten, Arsenalstraße 1, 1030 Wien

 Film Retrospective – Program

Official cultural policy in socialist  Eastern Europe defined film as the principal cultural form for shaping the consciousness of the masses. Yet the implementation of ideological demands for an overt politicization of the cinematic image during the socialist period turned out to be a double-edged sword, as filmmakers increasingly appropriated moving images to express dissenting political sentiments. After the change of the regime changess in Eastern Europe in 1989, the countries in the region had to re-evaluate their ideological heritage and give a new reading to the contested legacy of the 20th century. Filmmakers throughout the post-socialist space have engaged in re-examining the past by focusing on issues of identity and otherness, and exploring the mechanisms of control and resistance. This series of film screenings and subsequent discussions offers insights into a variety of ways in which the recent past continues to be revisited and relevant for to the present.

Monday, May 5, 6:00pm
In the Fog / V tumane (Sergei Loznitsa, Germany / Latvia / Russia / The Netherlands / Belarus, 2012, 128 min, OmU)

Monday, May 19, 6:00pm
All That I Love (Wszystko co kocham), Director: Jacek Borcuch (Poland, 2009, 91 minutes, OmU)

Tuesday, May 27, 6:00pm
S.P.A.R.T.A – Territory of Happiness (S.P.A.R.T.A. – Territoria Schastia). Director: Anna Moiseenko (2013, Russia, 56 minutes, OmU)

Director: Askold Kurov (Russia / Germany / The Netherlands, 2013, 52 minutes, OmU)


In cooperation with Blickle Kino, 21er Haus and with the generous support of the Polish Embassy, Vienna.