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    Languages and identities in the contemporary European cinema

    Ostrowska, Dorota (2007) Languages and identities in the contemporary European cinema. Journal of Contemporary European Studies 15 (1), pp. 55-65. ISSN 1478-2804.

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    Many contemporary European and non-European art cinema directors have decided to make their next film in a foreign language, most often English or French, which is not their native tongue. Many see the directors' decision to forfeit shooting in their native tongue as a step in the direction of a loss of cultural specificity by national cinemas. By examining the films of Lars Von Trier, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Pawel Pawlikowski and Michael Haneke I argue that their foreign language films foreground rather than obliterate the issue of cultural difference. The directors' ventures into the area of European co-productions can be seen as an engagement between their and other cultures, which is predicated on dissonances, tensions and conflicts. In the case of Von Trie, the other is US culture; for Kieslowski the other is constituted by the enigmatic, mystical and sometimes almost fantastic West; for Pawlikowski it is the East, identified by the combined impact of Soviet and Russian culture upon Central and Eastern Europe prior to and after 1989; for Haneke the other is the suppressed, the shameful, the marginalized and the forgotten past and present of Western European cultures. These directors use foreign language as a creative material in their films by making the soundtracks and text–image relationships the central features of their works. An exploration of the role played by the language in their films reveals them as loci of contemporary discourses about culture and identity in the European context.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Depositing User: Dorota Ostrowska
    Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 13:46
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:49


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