Feature and documentary historical films

The feature and documentary films database includes their abstracts - short summaries allowing easier browsing.

The creation of this database was based on The Polish Film (Polski Film) internet database, Lexicon of Polish Epic Films (Leksykon polskich filmów fabularnych) edited by Jan Słodowy, The History of Polish Film (Historia filmu polskiego) vol. I-IV edited by Jerzy Toeplitz, vol. V-VI edited by Rafał Marszałek as well as on film and TV yearbooks from the period of 1961 to 1989.

The collection of historical feature films is vast and focuses on reconstructing the past in its many forms. The stereotypical definition of historical film, dating from the early days of cinema and limited only to depicting historic events and the cult of famous people, seems nowadays, to have lost most of its appeal. Everyday activities, lifestyle, architecture or technology, etc. presented in these movies are often perceived not only as mere plot – “naïve story”, but something evoking cognitive values.

The materials found in the feature films database together with information from additional supplementary sources allow one to create sets useful in didactic work or research. This can be applied in school education on the basic level (e.g. the paintings of Polish kings and battles, the Polish irredenta, the world of concentration camps, the resistance in times of war, the anti-communist underground, “Solidarność” (Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity”) and the martial law period), but also complementary, more complex issues (e.g. Poles and Germans, Poles and Russians, Poles and Jews).

Analogously, the historical documentary films database has been extensively structured. The main points of reference are: time and context of the situation described in the movie, historical event constituting the theme of the film or a famous person – main character of the film. Due to the large time frame of this database the division into groups and subgroups has been introduced (e.g. 20th Century – World War II – Auschwitz). Such division delivers the main idea of the subject matter allowing, at the same time, to access the required materials easily.

Depending on one’s needs the materials can be used in a twofold way. The division into historical and educational films has been taken from The History of Polish Film (Historia filmu polskiego) and correspondingly marked in our database. It clearly shows the difference between forms of certain artistic aspirations and pictures build solely (or mainly) for utility-informational purposes. 

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