Theatralia et cinematographica 1/2015

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Jitka Pavlišová
Valtice Palace Theatre and Bourgeois Drama at the End of the 18th Century: Contexts and Intersections

A palace theatre operated in the South Moravian town of Valtice supported by its owners, the Liechtenstein family, over the years 1790–1805. An exploration of the primary sources concerning this distinguished aristocratic stage scene has revealed that due to the socio-cultural background of the time the aristocratic stage also went through major changes. The image of the Valtice theatre of the late 18th century gradually developed from the Baroque tradition of renting theatres to individual troupes to creating their own troupe and having a year-round theatre repertoire. The aristocracy naturally embraced the bourgeois theatre management model and the requirements of the day. The crucial influence of the bourgeois theatre is reflected in the repertoire which is the focus of this study. This analysis of never-before studied manuscripts presents what kind of plays and genres (originally bourgeois drama) were the favourite pastime for the aristocracy of the Valtice Palace Theatre during the years of its operation.

Zdenka Pašuthová
Re-presentation of History as a Component of Teaching History of Theatre. Remembering the Deceased Assoc. Prof. PhDr. Ján Jaborník, Ph.D.

The submitted paper is dedicated to assoc. prof. PhDr. Ján Jaborník, Ph.D. (1942–2010), a long-time lecturer in the history of Slovak and Czech theatre at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, who educated and formed a range of contemporary Slovak theatrologists as well as practitioners. His approach encouraged an interest in the study of history, which culminated in the form of numerous productions from old Slovak literature, documentary dramas based on history as well as professional publications. Despite the separation of the Czechoslovak Republic, he continued to deliver lectures on the history of Czech and Slovak theatre. The paper depicts and analyses his fundamental conceptual foundations as well as several seminar assignments, through which he taught his students to re-present theatre history.

Ian Christie
Who Needs Film Archives? Notes Towards a User-centred Future

Film archives today face many conflicting demands and expectations, from funders and a relatively small cohort of users. Their policies and practices still largely reflect the era when they first came into being, in the face of industry suspicion and scholarly indifference. Although academic film studies has largely ignored the archive, there are now opportunities to engage with new currents of interest in representations and evidence of the past, and in doing so to connect with new curatorial practices and audience-centred currents in the study of the moving image. This paper reviews new forms of archival engagement and argues for a user-centred future that could re-invigorate the concept of the film archive.

Ferdinando Gizzi
The Depiction of the Passion of Christ in Early Cinema: Between Artistic Tradition and Modern Representational Issues

Because of their novelty as a means of communication and language, early films on the Passion of Christ (1896–1916) faced unexpected problems and roused unprecedented questions about the issue of a valid representation. Filmmakers and producers attempted to respond to such problems resorting and adhering to the given religious art tradition. In this paper I will attempt to analyze the reasons, modalities and meanings of the artistic references in early filmed Passions in order to reach and meditate on the core of such representations whose essence as aura was called into question by the entrance into the spectacle and the system of mass society.

Katarína Mišíková
A Country with a Tiny History and Thick Lines? Memories of the Socialist Past in Slovak Post-Socialist Cinema

It is a common belief among film critics and historians, that Slovak post-1989 cinema is reluctant to deal with the subject of the socialist past, namely with the post-Prague Spring era, which came to be known as “normalization”. The paper examines possible causes for the lack of cinematic representations of the socialist legacy and attempts to answer the question whether this is to be attributed to institutional and economic problems of film industry, which was literally fighting for survival, or to a specific kind of historical indifference on the part of Slovak cinema. It further examines several Slovak films made after 1989 which are set in the socialist era or deal with its historical impact. It analyzes shifts in cinematic representation of state-socialism over the last twenty years and compares the Slovak cinematic approach to the communist past with films from other East Central European countries.

Andrea Hanáčková
Message in a Bottle or a Contribution to the Auditory Re-presentation of History through Radio Broadcasting and New Media

The imaginary message in a bottle copies the name of the Best European Documentary Programme 2013. This metaphor is used to look at the reflection of history in radio and other auditive media projects and programmes that create various types of re-presentation of history. The author chooses a case study of radio programmes from 2014 when the whole of Europe commemorated the Great War centenary. The anniversary inspired many special projects sponsored by European broadcasting companies, international organisations as well as independent production companies and civic associations. This text offers several examples of how the accent changes in the mapping and
re-presenting of history in the medium which does not have image at its disposal primarily but looks for ways to mediate the historical events in the most intense way through sound. The Internet and new media are important for this trend, enabling the creation of new interdisciplinary genres. The key part of the text concentrates on materials associated with the Great War (Czech Radio, Euroradio, the Guardian) but it looks for examples in other historical periods as well (Resounding Lidice 2012, Radioortung, Hackney Podcast). The forms of history re-presentation through auditory media are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are gradually ridding history of either unknown or taboo topics and topics which had long been ideologically distorted.

Kateřina Svatoňová
Locating the Slavic Spirit: An Examination of the Czechoslovak Visual Synthesis and the Creation of National Representation

This study explores the issue of possible comparisons between Czech and Slovak visual cultures from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of WWII, i.e., at a time when joint/specific national representation was constituted, and a search was on to form specifically a distinct mass culture and a representative, modern art style. It is focused on the extremely complex yet fascinating Czechoslovak situation where, on the one hand, Czech and Slovak cultures are distinct and hold their own, and on the other hand, one can trace between the two many remarkable connections and links, thematic intersections and motivic overlaps, often across different periods. Although the scope of this study may seem rather broad, the search for a “suitable” national representation which would meet the requirements of both the modern age and national demands was a persistent issue throughout the given periods. This study focuses on finding recurrent topoi, represented by specific images of Czech-Slovak synthesis, and on key temporal and spatial fragments, i.e., the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s and 1930s.

Tomáš Jirsa
Facing the Faceless: The Erased Face as a Figure of Aesthetic and Historical Experience

Two unique texts which are crucial for the cultural history of the face were published in 1919: “The Uncanny” by Sigmund Freud and the short story “The Erased Face” by the Czech author Richard Weiner. While Freud depicts his failure to recognize his own face in the mirror, Weiner’s text focuses on the image of a head-like “oval stub” devoid of any human features except the eyes. The paper deals with the phenomenon of disfiguration, both in the context of the peculiar aesthetics of “formless” and in relation to “broken faces” (gueules cassées) who suffered massive facial injuries in World War I. The central image of a face without a face is interpreted as an intermedial figure which connects literary, visual and historical memory while heralding the aesthetics of the post-modern portrait, especially in paintings by Francis Bacon, rendering identity through deformation. The narrative and images of losing one’s face are further discussed in connection with contemporary psychoanalysis.


František Dryje, Bertrand Schmitt, Ivo Purš, Jan Švankmajer. Dimensions of Dialogue / Between Film and Fine Art (Jan Švankmajer. Možnosti dialogu / Mezi filmem a volnou tvorbou). Praha: Arbor Vitae, 2013, 512 pp.
Reviewed by: Luboš Ptáček

James Chapman. Film and History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 181 pp.
Reviewed by: Milan Hain


The Birth of the Tramp: A 100th Anniversary Celebration
By Milan Hain

Screenwriting Research Network
By Jan Černík