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The Cinematic Bodies of Eastern Europe and Russia

Between Pain and Pleasure

Edited by Ewa Mazierska, Matilda Mroz, Elżbieta Ostrowska

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A critical exploration of the human body in Eastern European and Russian film

Bringing together a range of theoretical and critical approaches, this edited collection is the first book to examine representations of the body in Eastern European and Russian cinema after the Second World War. Drawing on the history of the region, as well as Western and Eastern scholarship on the body, the book focuses on three areas: the traumatized body, the body as a site of erotic pleasure, and the relationship between the body and history. Critically dissecting the different ideological and aesthetic ways human bodies are framed, The Cinematic Bodies of Eastern Europe and Russia also demonstrates how bodily discourses oscillate between complicity and subversion, and how they shaped individuals and societies both during and after the period of state socialism.

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Introduction: Shaping the Cinematic Bodies of Eastern Europe and Russia, Ewa Mazierska, Matilda Mroz and Elżbieta Ostrowska

I: Wounds and Traumas

Chapter One: "What does Poland Want From Me?": Male hysteria in Andrzej Wajda’s War Trilogy, Elzbieta Ostrowska

Chapter Two: Alcoholism and the Doctor in Béla Tarr’s Satantango, Calum Watt

Chapter Three: Playing Dead: Pictorial Figurations of Melancholia in Contemporary Hungarian Cinema, Hajnal Király

Chapter Four: The Body Breached: Post-Soviet Masculinity on Screen, Helena Goscilo

II: Transgressions and Pleasures

Chapter Five: Borowczyk as Pornographer, Ewa Mazierska

Chapter Six: Queering Masculinity in Yugoslav Socialist Realist Films, Nebojša Jovanović

Chapter Seven: Geographies of Carnality: Slippery Sexuality in Wiktor Grodecki’s Gay Hustler Trilogy, Bruce Williams

Chapter Eight: A Mass Doubling of Heroes: Post-Human Objects of Queer Desire in Vladimir Sorokin and Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s 4, Alexandar Mihailovic

III: Carnal Histories

Chapter Nine: The Touch of History: A Phenomenological Approach to 1960s Czech Cinema, David Sorfa

Chapter Ten: Corporeal Exploration in Györgi Pálfi‘s Taxidermia, Małgorzata Bugaj

Chapter Eleven: Aerial Bodies in Polish Cinema, Dorota Ostrowska

Chapter Twelve: The ‘Chemistry’ of Art(ifice) and Life: Embodied Paintings in East European Cinema, Ágnes Pethő


About the Author

Ewa Mazierska is Professor of Film Studies, at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Central Lancashire

Matilda Mroz is Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sussex. She held a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge (2008-2011), where her research focused on Polish cinema, and where she also completed her PhD in film theory (2004-2007).

Elżbieta Ostrowska teaches film at the University of Alberta, Canada. Her publications include Women in Polish Cinema, co-authored with Ewa Mazierska (Berghahn Books, 2006), The Cinema of Roman Polanski: Dark Spaces of the World, co-edited with John Orr (Wallflower, 2006), and The Cinema of Andrzej Wajda: The Art of Irony and Defiance, co-edited with John Orr (Wallflower, 2003).


'This book introduces us to many powerful and important movies, from Eastern Europe and Russia, that are far too little known in the English-speaking world. It widens our knowledge of the ways that body images, and the politics and pleasures of bodies, can be expressed in film.'

- Steven Shaviro, Wayne State University
'Impressive. The hard-working collaborators on this volume have made a formidable contribution.'
- Dina Iordanova, University of St Andrews, The Russian Review

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