FEMINISTS UNDER COMMUNISM? Everyday Experiences of Polish Women as Filmed by Female Documentarians

Misiak, Anna ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7153-944X (2018) FEMINISTS UNDER COMMUNISM? Everyday Experiences of Polish Women as Filmed by Female Documentarians. In: Doing Women’s Film and Television History IV: Calling the Shots – Then, Now, and Next (Academic Conference), 23-25 May 2018, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.

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Abstract / Summary

Based on research in Polish archives, this paper examines films made by women, who under Communism worked at the Documentary Film Studio in Warsaw. Although Polish female documentarians from the era could be counted on the fingers of two hands, intentionally or not, with time they collected a rather abundant audiovisual evidence that resisted the dominant Communist metanarrative of gender equality, which first came to prominence in the immediate post-war decade. Back then, several newsreels and documentaries foregrounded satisfied women—high-achievers both in their jobs and at home—whom the new Soviet-planted government apparently offered with endless opportunities to pursue their lifestyle choices. However, from the 1960s, many factual films—and especially those directed by women—started revealing bleaker experiences of the Polish female. In these documentaries, women often appeared caught between the official utopian discourse of equality and the everyday life in the society where dominant patriarchal discourses were shaped by both Communist ideologies and Catholic traditions.
I sample examples from films by Krystyna Gryczełowska, Danuta Halladin, Maria Kwiatkowska, Helena Amiradżibi and Irena Kamieńska, who had successful documentary careers, often sealed with festival trophies. My evaluation of these directors’ creative strategies serves to illustrate that their early subscription to the expectations of imposed gender identities gradually turned into a subtle feminist discourse of resistance, exposing that many ordinary women’s agency best manifested in their diverse survival/coping strategies. Some of them were not that different from today’s feminist tactics and narratives in the capitalist west.
This paper offers a critical evaluation of my research results which have been presented at http://womenundercommunism.com/

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Subjects: Film & TV
History > International
Communication > Media
Courses by Department: The School of Film & Television > Film
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Anna Misiak
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2018 12:30
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:29
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/2884


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