© 2019

Polish Migrants in European Film 1918–2017


Part of the Palgrave European Film and Media Studies book series (PEFMS)

About this book


This study explores the representation of international migration on screen and how it has gained prominence and salience in European filmmaking over the past 100 years. Using Polish migration as a key example due to its long-standing cultural resonance across the continent, this book moves beyond a director-oriented approach and beyond the dominant focus on postcolonial migrant cinemas. It succeeds in being both transnational and longitudinal by including a diverse corpus of more than 150 films from some twenty different countries, of which Roman Polański’s The Tenant, Jean-Luc Godard’s Passion and Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Trois couleurs: Blanc are the best-known examples. Engaging with contemporary debates on modernisation and Europeanisation, the author proposes the notion of “close Otherness” to delineate the liminal position of fictional characters with a Polish background. Polish Migrants in European Film 1918-2017 takes the reader through a wide range of genres, from interwar musicals to Cold War defection films; from communist-era exile right up to the contemporary moment. It is suitable for scholars interested in European or Slavic studies, as well as anyone who is interested in topics such as identity construction, ethnic representation, East-West cultural exchanges and transnationalism. 


Migration Poland interwar immigration Cold War expatriation Europeanisation international Roman Polanski Jean-Luc Godard the Other musicals Slavic identity transnational nostalgia modernisation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

About the authors

Kris Van Heuckelom is Professor of Polish Studies and Cultural Studies at KU Leuven, Belgium. He specialises in late modern Polish culture, with a particular focus on comparative and transnational perspectives, and has published several books, edited volumes and anthologies in these domains.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Polish Migrants in European Film 1918–2017
  • Authors Kris Van Heuckelom
  • Series Title Palgrave European Film and Media Studies
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave European Film and Media Studies
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies Literature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-04217-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-04218-9
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 283
  • Number of Illustrations 3 b/w illustrations, 14 illustrations in colour
  • Topics European Cinema and TV
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“The book could also be read as a tacit call for more variegated portrayals of expats (expat intellectuals, for example) that do more than merely confirming what Western European viewers might already know of Eastern Europe.” (Ewa Stańczyk, Studies in European Cinema, November 17, 2020)