Czech and Slovak Cinema: Theme and Tradition

Czech and Slovak Cinema: Theme and Tradition

Czech and Slovak Cinema: Theme and Tradition

Czech and Slovak Cinema: Theme and Tradition


This book is the first study in English to examine some of the key themes and traditions of Czech and Slovak cinema, linking inter-war and post-war cinemas together with developments in the post-Communist period. It examines links between theme, genre, and visual style, and looks at the ways in which a range of styles and traditions has extended across different historical periods and political regimes. Czech and Slovak Cinema provides a unique study of areas of Central European film history that have not previously been examined in English.


The idea for this book originated with the flagship volume in this series Traditions in World Cinema. While many of the chapters in that book chart important developments in post-World War Two cinema, it struck me that many of the themes discussed – Italian Neo-realism, the French New Wave, the Czechoslovak New Wave and so forth – represented significant and influential movements rather than traditions as such. Were there, perhaps, more longlived traditions in national cinemas? in the case of Czech and Slovak cinema, what connections could be made across time, between pre-war and post-war, Communist and post-Communist cinema? It also seemed to me that such an approach might serve to foreground neglected but nonetheless significant areas in the history of these cinemas.

The following introduction attempts to situate Czech and Slovak cinema within its overall context and, in the process, also examines the historical relations between Czechs and Slovaks and their relevance for the subsequent development of Czech and Slovak cinema, a culture that has been described as simultaneously common and separate.

Central and eastern europe

It has always struck me as odd that Central and East European cinemas (with or without Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union) should be perceived within a collective image, in the post-World War Two period described as cinemas of ‘the socialist bloc’ and sometimes as Second Cinema.

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