Screening (Non-)Solidarity, Now and Before: Polish Immigrants in Late Cold War Film (1980–1989)

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


This chapter discusses the massive impact of the “Polish crisis” (1980–1983) on the representation of Polish immigrants in European film, both in quantitative and in qualitative terms. The corpus is divided into two categories: topical films (more or less directly related to the political turmoil in Poland) and historically oriented productions (mostly from the second half of the decade). In order to contextualise the cinematic appeal of the Solidarity period and its immediate aftermath (martial law), the chapter highlights the most prominent factors of cultural, socioeconomic and (geo)political significance: the growing international reputation of Polish cinema, the biographical background of the filmmakers involved, the long-term effects of the economic recession and the changing parameters of the East–West conflict from the 1970s onwards. The chapter closes by arguing that the 1980s films initiate—through the lens of earlier and contemporary migration waves—the laborious process of mutual rediscovery between East and West.


Migration Poland European cinema Cold War Solidarity Martial law Andrzej Wajda Jerzy Skolimowski Exilic cinema Period film 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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