|About the Book|
This dissertation examines the history and productions of Czechoslovakias Army Film studio between 1951 and 1971. During these twenty years (encompassing the first two decades of communist rule in the country), the studios output shifted from itsMoreThis dissertation examines the history and productions of Czechoslovakias Army Film studio between 1951 and 1971. During these twenty years (encompassing the first two decades of communist rule in the country), the studios output shifted from its traditional propaganda and training films to politically radical, aesthetically modernist films that had little to do with defense. The dissertation explains how a combination of personnel (most of the premier figures in Czechoslovak cinema served in the studio for periods) and institutional factors (the militarys financial resources and a liberal staff) briefly resulted in a sheltered environment in which, paradoxically, military filmmakers had more creative freedom than those outside the military.-Relying on interviews with filmmakers and previously unexplored archival documents and films, this study brings the history of this virtually unknown studio and its films to light, illuminating the diversity of film production in communist-era East Central Europe not through the regions more commonly studied feature-length fiction films, but rather through its nonfiction, short, and nontheatrical genres. It also offers a rereading of postwar Czechoslovak cinema, adding to existing scholarship on the famous Czechoslovak New Wave, which has typically been read as a movement that arose from the work of auteurs and the influence of international art cinema, and in opposition to the communist state. The dissertation, conversely, argues that in the case of Army Film, art cinema arose at the core of---and with direct support from---the state- and that some of the studios oppositional filmmaking practices were rooted, in part, in the Stalinist period. On a broader level, it thus proposes a reconsideration of the relationship between the state and cultural production in East Central Europe.