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Polish Entertainers and Entertaining Polishness: Staging Expatriates in Interwar Cinema (1918–1939)

  • Kris Van HeuckelomEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave European Film and Media Studies book series (PEFMS)

Abstract

This chapter is devoted to the interwar years, when the great wave of transatlantic migration came to a stop and cross-border mobility became increasingly regulated by state control. While tracing the diegetic appearance of characters of Polish extraction in popular interwar genres such as melodrama, musical and comedy, the chapter argues that these early examples do not reflect actual patterns and scales of international (labour) migration, but should be seen as the side effect of two sociocultural phenomena: the international mobility of European film personnel and the rise of interwar “Russomania”. While discussing the screen performances of three prolific actors from East Central Europe (Jan Kiepura, Pola Negri and Elvire Popesco), the chapter pays particular attention to the “entertainment” value of the “Polish” roles in which they were cast. The analysis closes by contrasting this popular strain of interwar filmmaking with Jean Renoir’s pioneering—proto-neorealist—approach to the topic of immigration in French cinema of the 1930s.

Keywords

Migration Poland European cinema Interwar period Commercial travelling Jean renoir Pola negri Jan kiepura Elvire popesco Eastern europe 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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