- The Cinema of Generation X: A Critical Study (review)
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 33, Number 2, 2003
- pp. 89-90
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Book Reviews | Regular Feature and pivotal periods (before 1918, 1918-1939, 1945-1989, 1989present day) we are able to see its changing landscape in relation to its volatile political periods. Like most European countries, World War II shaped the relationship of film and people. Haltof carefully walks the reader through the tricky ground of trying to decipher how Polish National Cinema was reconstructed and also bastardized at the same time after the war years. Here was a country divided by communism but still able to produce many significant motion pictures. IfMr. Haltrof's only goal was to portray a concise narrative of Poland's film history, its players and product, then mission accomplished. Haltrof, however, has a greater and more important goal in mind: to convey the inner struggle of not just an industry but also a country searching for its place in the world. Mr. Haltrof has shown that Polish National Cinema is more than just a five to ten page spread in a standard introduction to a film studies book. Instead it is an industry that tells us more about a country's relationship to motion pictures than any other modern day nation. Again, Haltrof explains, while the Polish National Cinema has become respected over the last fifty years it has been omitted from film schools and festivals and disregarded as an amalgam of various European and Soviet societies. This is not only a shame but also a disservice to all lovers of film. What makes Haltrof's book so wonderful is that, like a great filmmaker, he uses his subject to craft a much deeper and complex story of the Polish people and their search for a national identity. In a simple narrative Haltof tells the story ofthe cinema through all the major (and minor) movements leaving no stone unturned and no title left out. With clarity and fluidity he makes Poland come alive. He describes the films, their makers and the viewers. Not only does he describe the national cinema in terms of its art and aesthetics but also in political and sociological contexts . Surveying a timeline that starts before 1900 and goes all the way up to present day is no easy task but Haltof does so with a love and pride that few authors have achieved in their work. It is clearthatMr. Haltofnot only has an affection forthe Polishpeople and their national cinema but wants us to experience those feelings as well. I think he succeeds! The only frustration (although no fault ofthe author) to this reading experience is that unfortunately many of the photoplays discussed in this work are hard to find and/or do not exist anymore . While Haltof has done a masterful job of describing and analyzing many of these titles to see them would truly make the experience that much greater. It is clear that Mr. Haltof has taken the first step in creating a new wave of film studies in this largely untouched national cinema . While he has provided the insight and knowledge of generations of Polish film it is now the schools' and festivals' job to find these motion pictures and give them the necessary exposure they so richly deserve. As our world becomes increasingly smaller it is only fitting that we now turn to Polish national cinema as something to be studied and cherished as a real and vibrant film culture . To most of us the Polish national cinema was lost. Thanks to Mr. Haltof it has been found. Jay Morong Boston University firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Hanson. The Cinema of Generation X: A Critical Study. McFarland, 2002. 227 pages; $35.00. Troubled Generation Peter Hanson begins his enlightening study of Generation X's cinematic contributions by comparing its filmmakers to the hero of The Matrix: overwhelmed by the "information and misinformation " of modern life, the hero is lost "and only others like him can help him find his way." Nearly all filmmakers ofGeneration X, Hanson explains, are on a quest to "make sense ofa senseless world." This study goes a long way toward making sense ofa seemingly unrelated body of work. Anyone perplexed by the popularity of films like Seven, Fight Club, or Pulp Fiction will...