Stories between tears and laughter: reception study of popular Czech cinema (1989-2010).

Vojvoda, Richard (2020) Stories between tears and laughter: reception study of popular Czech cinema (1989-2010). Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis explores discourses about the nature and role of Czech national cinema constructed and circulating in Czech media roughly during the first two decades after the fall of communism in 1989. It pays attention especially to notions of quality and value constructed around films in pre-release materials and critical discourses circulating in the daily press and in specialised cultural and academic publications.

Czech cinema, similar to many other national cinemas of the former Eastern Bloc, faced several challenges after the dissolution of the communist regime, including lack of financial support from the state, decreasing audiences, and influx of Hollywood films. This thesis will explore the different ways film critics but also films themselves react to and negotiate different notions of value in the changing conditions of the post-communist environment. To do this, this thesis adopts historical reception studies approach and will draw on the existing work of Barbara Klinger, Thomas Austin, Mark Jancovich, Ernest Mathijs and others in this area.

Recent academic work on cinemas of Central and Eastern Europe has been reminding us that pre-transition attention on these cinemas tended to be affected by Western interests in radical ‘art cinema’. Some academics have therefore increasingly aimed to explore the different popular forms of these cinemas. This thesis will also contribute to this growing body of work. Through the study of films and the ancillary materials that accompany film’s circulation, such as promotional articles and reviews, this thesis explores the shifting attitudes towards the popular and the different meanings ‘the popular’ accrues in negotiations of the place of Czech cinema in a globalised world. This thesis argues that circulating notions of value are not stable, constant, and homogeneous, but instead shift, develop in time, and are adapted by different groups for different purposes. Together, however, they help to shape the complex mosaic of perceptions about what national cinema is and should be like.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 12:50
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2023 14:54

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