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East, West and CentreReframing post-1989 European Cinema$
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Michael Gott and Todd Herzog

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748694150

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694150.001.0001

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Through the Lens of Black Humour

Through the Lens of Black Humour

A Polish Adam in the Post-Wall World

(p.221) Chapter 14 Through the Lens of Black Humour
East, West and Centre

Rimma Garn

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter introduces the popular and critically-acclaimed Polish director Marek Koterski, whose oeuvre, characterized by black humor and startling naturalism, is almost entirely unknown outside of his native Poland. Koterski's work must be considered in its entirety, as it represents an unusual phenomenon, an ‘octology’ – a coherent narrative consisting of eight feature films that centers around one protagonist, Adam Miauczyski, the director's alter ego. In this chapter Garn focuses on his use of black humour in two works: Day of the Wacko (2002) and We’re all Christs (2006). Like all Koterski's films made after 1989, a cataclysmic year for Eastern Europe, these two ‘post-Wall’ films depict life in communist and post-communist Poland with particular poignancy. Both films include references to the English language and to American consumer products, equally distant and irrelevant to the protagonist. They depict Poland as a world of helplessness and hopelessness, filled with suffocating apartments and elevators, and nosy, malicious neighbors. The tragedy is that Poland's radical transformation from totalitarianism to democracy changed nothing in Adam's life, and he still sees an empty future with nothing to live for, unless he turns to faith and love.

Keywords:   Communism, post-communism, Polish cinema, Black humour, Marek Koterski

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