PhD ceremony: Ms. I. Gusc, 12.45 uur, Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: Polished cinema. Over de receptie van het werk van Andrzej Kondratiuk in Polen en het groteske
Promotor(s): prof. B.P. van Heusden, prof. E.J. Korthals Altes, prof. A.M.A. van den Oever
Despite being brutally slated at times, Andrzej Kondratiuk’s films were also often admired and praised by Polish film critics. Their inability to uniformly categorise and value Kondratiuk’s highly unconventional work has led to him being set aside, and labelled as, a ‘separate’ filmmaker in Polish film history. Iwona Guść’s study brings the complex dynamic to light that existed between Andrzej Kondratiuk and the Polish post-war film culture in which his work was constantly corrected, smoothed and polished.
The problematic reception that has coloured Kondratiuk’s career is analysed within a framework of the grotesque. Iwona Guść argues that the grotesque devices used by Kondratiuk to undermine established norms were crucial for the developement of the reception process. Her approach, however, does not centre on the formal aspects of Kondratiuk’s films, but rather on the problems of reception they evoked. Guść therefore considers the grotesque as a specific perceptual and cognitive experience elicited by the work itself; an experience in which the violation of expectations and disorientation play a crucial role.
This research explores reception documents from the period 1959 to 2009 and thus covers nearly all of Kondratiuk’s professional career. Guść demonstrates that Kondratiuk stubbornly resisted every interpretive strategy the contemporary viewers had in store for him. While critics and censors were continuously trying to turn him into a polished filmmaker, Kondratiuk kept on refuting their efforts by ridiculing nearly all of their judgments and interpretations. He thus made the canonisation of his own work – during the communist as well as during the post-communist period – virtually impossible.
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