UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SEEP0016 Contemporary Polish Cinema

UCL Credits: 15

Total Learning Hours: 150

ECTS: 7.5

Level: Intermediate

Course Unit: 0.5

Term 2

Module Coordinator: Dr Katarzyna Zechenter

Taught By: Dr Katarzyna Zechenter

To find out more about this module, please contact the Module Coordinator.

Weekly Contact Hours: 4.0 (2 hour lecture and 2 hour film screening per week)
Prerequisites: None
Compulsory Module for:

Summative Assessment

Coursework Essay 4000 words (100%)

Formative Assessment

Presentations - feedback by the group and the tutor.  Book review - verbal feedback by the tutor.

Module Outline

This course explores Polish cinema, probably the best-known form of Polish art in the world. The class focuses on cinema since 1945 and iconic directors such as Wajda, Polański or Kieślowski. These directors created a complex and intriguing cinema that become a powerful tool in the struggle with the communist system but also used Poland’s turbulent history to explore universal issues and themes. The approach of the class is both thematic and theoretical combining analysis of various styles with themes that Polish cinema explored since the end of World War II thus allowing students to develop greater analytical skills and theoretical framework. The class investigates aesthetic and technical innovations of Polish cinema while exploring Socialist realism, the usage of propaganda in the film, Cinema of Moral Concern, the approaches to presenting or manipulating history, the role of documentary and animation as well as the changes forced by the adaptations to the post-communist reality and free market.

Indicative Texts

  • Falkowska, Janina, Haltof Marek [eds] New Polish Cinema. Trowbridge 2003;
  • Haltof, Marek. Polish National Cinema. Oxford: Berghahn 2001;
  • G. Mast, M. Cohe, L. Braudy. (eds) Film Theory and Criticism. Oxford 1992;
  • Mazierska Ewa, Elzbieta Ostrowska. Women in Polish Cinema. Bergham Books, 2006;
  • Michałek, Bolesław, Modern Cinema of Poland, Indiana University Press 1988;
  • M. Prammaggiore, T. Wallis. Film. A Critical Introduction, London 2005;


This module is not open to affiliate students.


Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.