Building Capitalism With(out) a Human Face: Polish Migrants in Post-Communist Film (1990–2004)

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


This chapter approaches the rapidly growing prominence of Polish labour migration in contemporary European filmmaking not only as a reflection of actual mobility practices on the East–West axis, but also as an imaginative project that reflects on the changing geopolitical, economic and cultural parameters of post-Cold War Europe. It points to various narrative and visual tropes—most of them closely related to the work performances of the Polish migrant, male and female alike—which reappear across national boundaries. On the production side, in turn, it argues that the growing cinematic interest in the phenomenon of East–West labour migration helps to give an international boost to the creative trajectories of Polish actors and actresses (many of whom are typecast in the role of blue-collar immigrants). The chapter closes by singling out three cases which add a particular twist to the most prominent representational patterns (namely German, Austrian and Italian cinema).


Migration Poland European film European union Europeanisation Modernisation Krzysztof Kieślowski Multidirectional nostalgia Ethnic kitschification Capitalism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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