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Dreaming, drifting, dying: The narrative inertia in Wojciech Has’s Lalka/The Doll (1968)

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This article examines various artistic strategies used by Wojciech Has in his adaptation of Bolesław Prus’s novel The Doll (1889) in order to establish a link between the formal aspects of the film and its narrative content, as these two work together towards a more general cultural diagnosis concerning modernity. The author analyses camera movement, mise-en-scène, editing, spatial and temporal structures, demonstrating how these devices block the process of narrative development. She argues that the visual and narrative strategies employed by Has proclaim a distrust towards any form of progress. Finally, she claims that Has’s deep and profound distrust of progressive change separates him from the dominant paradigm of Polish post-war cinema preoccupied with History conceived as a linear goal-oriented sequence of events.
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Keywords: Polish cinema; Wojciech Jerzy Has; adaptation; narrative inertia; space; surrealism; tableau vivant; theatricality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Alberta

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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