HomePatterns of Miscommunication in Contemporary East-Central European Cinema

HomePatterns of Miscommunication in Contemporary East-Central European Cinema

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Published on Monday, February 20, 2023

Abstract

We would like to invite scholars from the fields of film, media and communication studies, but also of linguistics, literary studies, political studies, anthropology, etc., to a joint reflection on East-Central European contemporary cinema. Much of East-Central European cinema after 1989 seems to thematize the issue of communicational barriers. If we posit, with Casetti, that films are sites of production and circulation of discourses, which can be interpreted as symbolic constructions referring to a cluster of meanings conveyed by a specific society at a moment of its existence, then what are the meanings transmitted by this cinematic reflection on communication blockage? What are the main cinematic discourses developed around miscommunication issues? To what extent do they create a common imaginary for this part of Europe? 

Announcement

Bucharest, September 28th-29th, 2023

Argument

East-Central Europe is as much a geographical area as it is a political idea: its spatial coordinates have shifted extensively in alignment with the logistics of the different ideologies which, over time, have placed the delineation of the region at the core of their program. According to Joachim von Puttkamer (2015), “[w]ith its primary interest in the productiveand destructive dimensions of cultural entanglements in imperial and post-imperial contexts,a historiography of East Central Europe has emerged which goes beyond political biases andhas a cultural studies orientation”.

We believe that a communication studies-informed methodology should complement this approach, in order to decipher the implicit lingua franca that has developed from the “forced ‘togetherness’” (Iordanova 2013) of these otherwise fragmented ethno-cultural milieus, achieved either through external coercion or through the necessity of small states to shape proximity alliances. A lingua franca which is, quite paradoxically, preponderantly non-linguistic and exists despite the fiercely maintained lingual diversity of the region.

Assuredly,the complicated pacification process of the area, especially since the shattering of the Soviet Bloc, requires concepts that broaden the spectrum between the monolithic extremes ofcommunication and non-communication, mainly those of incommunication (frustration over the perceived failure to communicate or the mistaken belief of having been understood), miscommunication (failure to communicate ideas or intentions successfully) and acommunication (hierarchised communication that disregards the other’s intellectual andidentitarian autonomy), as defined by Wolton (2013) or Dacheux (2015).

Much of East-Central European cinema after 1989 seems to thematize the issue of communicational barriers. Failed communication in these films may stem from maincharacters’ different perspectives over the meaning and the practical implications of the same word (as in Politist, adjective, Corneliu Porumboiu, 2009), or, on a larger scale, from interpersonal misunderstanding that only serves as a mirror for past trauma (as in Jasmila Žbanić’s Grbavica, 2006) or for intercultural conflict (as in Valeska Grisebach’s Western, 2017). It can also be based on the cacophonous discussions of a group of so-called revolutionaries trying to decide whether, in 1989, the Revolution actually took place in their small town (as in 12:08 East of Bucharest, by Corneliu Porumboiu, 2006), or on propaganda induced hatred between sharers of a same culture and of a same language, that even a life-or death situation cannot defuse (No Man’s Land, Danis Tanović, 2001). It can develop in (quasi)total silence, as in Belà Tarr’s The Turin Horse (2011) or emerge in the interstices profuse conversation, as witnessed in Cristi Puiu’s Sieranevada (2016). It can flow through sign or whistled language (Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s The Tribe, 2014, and Porumboiu’s La Gomera, 2019, respectively), as well as through the postmodern collage of slogans and quotes that constitute the characters’ speeches in Radu Jude’s Scarred Hearts (2016).

The above-mentioned situations are but mere examples of a rich repertoire of miscommunication in East-Central European Cinema; but what lies behind them? If we posit, with Casetti (2004), that films are sites of production and circulation of discourses, which can be interpreted as symbolic constructions referring to a cluster of meanings conveyed by aspecific society at a moment of its existence, then what are the meanings transmitted by this cinematic reflection on communication blockage? What are the main cinematic discourses developed around miscommunication issues? To what extent do they create a common imaginary for this part of Europe? In other words, given issues such as the failure to achievefull integration into the Western world, ghettoization of ethnic minorities, inequalities due to insufficient social protection measures, mistrust arising from civilizational or economical differences within and across East-Central European states, or gender inequality, to whatextent do they constitute a common frame for this part of Europe, overcoming what Laqueur (2011) described as the lack of cultural solidarity between the continent’s regions, possibly in order to form no less than a “community of conflict”?

We would like to invite scholars from the fields of film, media and communication studies, but also of linguistics, literary studies, political studies, anthropology, etc., to a joint reflection on East-Central European contemporary cinema. More precisely, we want to explore issues related, but not restricted, to:

  • communicational barriers
  • typologies of abortive communication
  • (audio)visual representations of communication failures
  • impact of collective and/or individual trauma on communication
  • (in/a/non)communicating across spaces and borders
  • gender, ethnic or racial discrimination as undercurrents of communication failure
  • interspecies non-communication as reinforcement of the anthropocentric paradigm
  • political dimensions of the refusal to communicate
  • national waves and alternative modes of cinematic expression
  • creative solidarity networks across East-Central Europe

Venue

The conference will take place on the 28th and 29th of September, 2023 at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) in Bucharest (30A, Expozitiei Blvd.).

A special online panel might be organized for presenters who cannot physically attend the conference.

Submission guidelines

Authors wishing to contribute to the conference program are kindly invited to submit an abstract of maximum 300 words and a short bio note at the following address: snspa.unatc.conference@gmail.com.

  • Abstracts and bio note submission: June 30th, 2023

  • Decision date: July 31st, 2023

Conference proceedings will be published. 

Keynote speakers

  • Dina Iordanova, Emeritus Professor, Department of Film Studies, University of St Andrews,Scotland
  • Anikó Imre, Professor of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, USA

Scientific committee

  • Andrei Gorzo, UNATC, Romania
  • Ewa Mazierska, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom
  • Eva Näripea, Film Archive of the National Archives of Estonia, Estonia
  • Eszter Polonyi, University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia
  • Andrea Virginás, Sapientia University, Romania
  • Gábor Gergely, Lincoln School of Film, Media and Journalism, United Kingdom
  • Dominique Wolton, CNRS, Paris, France

Organizing committee

  • Liri Chapelan, UNATC, Romania
  • Denisa-Adriana Oprea, SNSPA, Romania

Conference fee

50 euros (free of charge for (doctoral) students)

In exceptional cases, accommodation might be offered upon request.

Places

  • Bulevardul Expozitiei, 30A
    Bucharest, Romania (012104)

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


Date(s)

  • Friday, June 30, 2023

Keywords

  • cinema, communication failure, communicational barrier, film studies, media studies

Contact(s)

  • Chapelan Liri
    courriel : chapelan [dot] liri [at] unatc [dot] ro

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Chapelan Liri
    courriel : chapelan [dot] liri [at] unatc [dot] ro

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Patterns of Miscommunication in Contemporary East-Central European Cinema », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, February 20, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1akx

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