In 1902, scientist and inventor Kazimierz Prószynski made the first Polish narrative film, The Return of a Merry Fellow (Powrót Birbanta). Since then, the Polish film industry has produced a diverse body of work, ranging from patriotic melodramas and epic adaptations of the national literary canon to Yiddish cinema and films portraying the corrupted side of communism. Poland has produced several internationally known films, including Andrzej Wajda's war trilogy, A Generation (1955), Kanal (1957), and Ashes and Diamonds (1958), Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water (1962), and Andrzej Munk's The Passenger (1963). Often performing specific political and cultural duties for their nation, Polish filmmakers were well aware of their role as educators, entertainers, social activists, and political leaders. The A to Z of Polish Cinema fills the gap in film scholarship, presenting an extensive factual survey of Polish film. Through its chronology, introductory essay, appendixes, bibliography, and cross-referenced dictionary entries on films, directors, actors, producers, and film institutions, a balanced picture of the richness of Polish cinema is presented. Readers with professional interest in cinema will welcome this new work, which would be useful for any senior undergraduate or post-graduate courses in film studies.
About the Author
Marek Haltof is professor of Film in the English Department at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. His recent books include The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski: Variations on Destiny and Chance (2004), Polish National Cinema (2002), and Australian Cinema: The Screen Construction of Australia (2005, in Polish).