Vestnik MGIMO-Universiteta, Vol 0, Iss 4(61), Pp 204-218 (2018)
image of russia, politics of memory, historical memory, historical films, poland, manipulative methods, International relations, and JZ2-6530
The presented research is devoted to the mapping of Russia and Russians in the Polish historical cinema in the XX – early XXI centuries. The aim of the work is to assess the positioning of Russia and the Russians in Polish historical films. The study is intended to enrich the concept of the essence of the politics of memory of Poland and the content of the historical memory of its citizens. Article materials can be used for professional needs by diplomats, journalists, representatives of international public organizations, experts in the field of patriotic education and organization of work with young people. During the collection and processing of the identified array of information, methods such as traditional analysis and expert interviews were used. The conducted researches showed that when creating images of Russia and its inhabitants in the Polish historical cinema, the tendency of negative positioning, determined by the political conjuncture and cultural stereotypes, dominated. For the formation of appropriate images, manipulative practices based on appealing to the sphere of emotions and using symbols with archetypal implication were used. The films of the period before 1939 and the post-Soviet era are related not only to the content, but also the technological side: in both cases, the creators used strategies to create images of someone else’s and phantom enemies, demonization and dehumanization. These techniques were used to reflect not only the Soviet period of Russian history, but also the pre-revolutionary era. Accordingly, not only the Soviet regime, but Russia, acting as the historical, eternal enemy of Poland, was positioned in a negative way.
Britain, film, Germany, Lancastrian, Nazi, Tudor, Arts in general, and NX1-820
In World War II the Allies and Axis deployed propaganda in myriad forms, among which cinema was especially important in arousing patriotism and boosting morale. Britain and Germany made propaganda films from Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 to the war’s end in 1945, most commonly documentaries, historical films, and after 1939, fictional films about the ongoing conflict. Curiously, the historical films included several about fifteenth and sixteenth century England. In The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), director Alexander Korda—an admirer of Winston Churchill and opponent of appeasement—emphasizes the need for a strong navy to defend Tudor England against the ‘German’ Charles V. The same theme appears with Philip II of Spain as an analog for Hitler in Arthur B. Wood’s Drake of England (1935), William Howard’s Fire Over England (1937), parts of which reappear in the propaganda film The Lion Has Wings (1939), and the pro-British American film The Sea Hawk (1940). Meanwhile, two German films little known to present-day English language viewers turned the tables with English villains. In Gustav Ucicky’s Das Mädchen Johanna (Joan of Arc, 1935), Joan is the female embodiment of Hitler and wages heroic warfare against the English. In Carl Froelich’s Das Herz der Königin (The Heart of a Queen, 1940), Elizabeth I is an analog for an imperialistic Churchill and Mary, Queen of Scots an avatar of German virtues. Finally, to boost British morale on D-Day at Churchill’s behest, Laurence Olivier directed a masterly film version of William Shakespeare’s Henry V (1944), edited to emphasize the king’s virtues and courage, as in the St. Crispin’s Day speech with its “We few, we proud, we band of brothers”. This essay examines the aesthetic appeal, the historical accuracy, and the presentist propaganda in such films.
Kopf, S., Haenselmann, T., Farin, D., and Effelsberg, W.
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