Visions of Avant-Garde Film

Visions of Avant-Garde Film

Polish Cinematic Experiments from Expressionism to Constructivism
Kamila Kuc
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 12/12/2016
Format: Paperback 20 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-02402-2
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Warsaw- and London-based filmmakers Franciszka and Stefan Themerson are often recognized internationally as pioneers of the 1930s Polish avant-garde. Yet, from the turn of the century to the end of the 1920s, Poland’s literary and art scenes were also producing a rich array of criticism and early experiments with the moving image that set the stage for later developments in the avant-garde. In this comprehensive and accessible study, Kamila Kuc draws on myriad undiscovered archival sources to tell the history of early Polish avant-garde movements—Symbolism, Expressionism, Futurism, and Constructivism—and to reveal their impact on later practices in art cinema.

Author Bio

Kamila Kuc is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. A writer, experimental filmmaker and curator, she publishes widely on the subject of film and media. She has curated programs of experimental film for international film festivals and venues and her films have been screened at international film festivals. More information on her work can be found at her website:


“ important addition to the English-language literature on experimental film in Central and Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century.”
 — Marcin Gizycki, author of Polish Animated Film

“Kamila Kuc’s Visions of Avant-Garde Film is devoted to the beginnings of the Polish film avant-garde. The author of this volume proposes an original perspective, paying attention to phenomena that have not been yet described or that have been so far ignored. Her reflection focuses on the relationship between the film and other areas of the avant-garde. [This] book is not only valuable by filling the gap in the literature devoted to early Polish experimental cinema, but also an original proposal of an ‘alternative’ cinema history.”
 — Kwartalnik Filmowy

“Kuc’s ambitious project provides a comprehensive view of Polish avant-garde film before 1945, making a solid contribution to the experimental cinema field of studies and showing how illuminating an account based on sources other than realized films can be for early avant-garde cinema.”
 — Slavic Review

“[E]very chapter [is] a revelation in this still understudied area of Eastern European cinema.”
 — Canadian Journal of Film Studies

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Table of Contents

Part One: Proto-Cinematic Phase: The Pioneers (1896 - 1918)
1. "The Cinematograph" and Historical Consciousness: Actualities and the Early Experiments with Film in the Polish Territories
2. Discovering Medium Specificity: The First Polish Claims for Film as Art
3. The First Polish Experiment with Film: Feliks Kuczkowski’s Animation in the Context of the International Avant-Garde
Part Two: Polish Avant-Garde Movements and Film (1919 - 1945)
4. Karol Irzykowski’s The Tenth Muse: Animated Film as the Highest Form of Film Art
5. The Theoretical Apparatus: Polish Futurism and Avant-Garde Film
6. Polish Avant-Garde Films, Discourses, and the Concept of Photogénie
7. Polish Avant-Garde Film and Constructivism
Selected Bibliography

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