Communism with Its Clothes Off: Eastern European Film Comedy by Lilla Toke PDF

By Lilla Toke

The dissertation examines the legacies of gruesome comedy within the cinemas of
Eastern Europe. absolutely the non-seriousness that characterised ugly realism
became a winning and comparatively secure method to discuss the absurdities and the disasters
of the communist process. Thismodality, even if, wasnot unique tothe communist
era yet stretchedback to the Austro-Hungarian period and ahead into the Postcommunist
times. The research explores how movie comedyprovided a moment, carnivalesque world
that reflected reputable tradition in a ugly method and ridiculed it, and as such those
comediesindicated the failure of the Grand Narrative of Communism. the flicks
constituted a much-needed substitute public sphere, the place the controversies and
absurdities within the dominant social buildings may emerge in a serious mild. They
demystified the workings of kingdom communism in very important methods: first,they printed
that ideological and fabric truth wereincongruous and sometimes contradictory and that
the phantasm of ideological truth used to be forcefully maintained via language. Secondly,
the movies disclosed that the communist state’s biopolitics was once eventually unsuccessful
since it didn't totally combine the members into its ideological undertaking and as a substitute
encouraged a selected “doublethink”to emerge (where humans at the same time accredited
and defied communist keep an eye on over their bodies). eventually, in its carnivalesque
representations,Eastern ecu cinema played an incredible counter-cultural
function that commented at the very ontology of present socialism: the movies pointed to
an irreconcilable contradiction among communist ideology and fabric fact that
would eventually bring about the system’s loss of life in addition to the state’s competitive makes an attempt
and mess ups to interpellate its matters absolutely and effectively.

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Additional info for Communism with Its Clothes Off: Eastern European Film Comedy and the Grotesque

Sample text

When the firefighters decide to switch off the lights in the ballroom in order to give an opportunity to the crowd to replace the raffle objects without any repercussions, the first lights-out results in total chaos and even more items disappear. When the lights go out and come back for the second time, Josef is caught as the only one trying to put a piece of headcheese back on the table (as it turns out, his wife stole it earlier). Josef’s gesture of honesty is answered with a furious reaction form his wife (“Everyone is stealing here and you are only watching, you old honest fool”) as well as from his comrades who accuse him of humiliating the whole fire brigade.

The bathroom scene is repeated several times as an ongoing commentary about the intricate lies that upheld the ruling communist regime and the ugly/dirty reality behind the veils of deception. The camera often vacillates between Ryszard’s deceiving lies and the reality that differs significantly. The film, like A Trip Down the River, uses the camera-eye (kinoeye) to play with narrative expectations and delivery. In one instance, as part of his crazy plotting, Ryszard shows his mistress a freshly delivered passport that he claims is hers.

In another instance, we see how travelling passengers are weighed at the airport and receive fines if they have lost weight upon return from a foreign country because it means that the communist dream itself has lost some of its weight. Such irrational official procedures are supposed to underpin the system, but instead are exposed in their full absurdity through exaggeration. Mirroring the communist reality, Teddybear emphasizes the role of deception in Ryszard’s success. Everything he does is supported by lies and he involves everybody around him in the intricate mendacity.

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Communism with Its Clothes Off: Eastern European Film Comedy and the Grotesque by Lilla Toke


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