BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Dug in or rising from the mud: an ecocritical approach to selected new Polish films

Fri8  Apr05:00pm(20 mins)


Justyna Budzik


While environmental film studies have been expanding worldwide for the last two decades, its applications in contemporary Polish film scholarship remain rather rare and incidental. In my paper I would like to fill out this apparent gap as some of the new Polish films clearly give a way for an ecocritical analysis of how they represent human and non-human relations. Film ecocriticism helps in establishing a more in-depth study of how contemporary Polish filmmakers depict the world in transformation – not only the political and economical one, but the relational and environmental as well. I would like to focus on selected works by Wojciech Smarzowski („The Dark House”, 2000, „The Wedding”, 2004 and 2021), Anna Jadowska („Wild Roses”, 2017), Agnieszka Smoczyńska („Fuga”, 2018) and Marcin Wrona („Demon”, 2016). Although in different ways and at a different scale, these films propose intriguing and meaningful images of human connection with soil, mud and dirt. The earth has in these films agency in narrative and character development, and I would argue that understanding it is fundamental to explain how tensions between the countryside and the city, the male and the female, the democratic and the communist work in the new Polish cinema. In my reading of films I draw from the input of film scholars in ecocinema as well as from Donna Haraway’s or Timothy Morton’s wider philosophical diagnosis for the anthropocene.