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Humanities 2018, 7(4), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7040118

Ostalgia in Czech Films about Normalisation Created Post-1989

Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Faculty of Arts, Palacký University, Křížkovského 10, 77200 Olomouc, Czech Republic
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 22 October 2018 / Accepted: 31 October 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
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Abstract

This piece will introduce Czech ostalgic films set in the normalisation period (1969–1989) and will interpret the basic divide between nostalgic representation of the period and the openly anti-communist stances of the films’ creators. The methodological frame of this research comes from Robert Rosenstone’s approach of representation of history in film. To interpret ostalgia in Czech film, I use ideas from Daphne Berdhal and Svetlana Boym. I described the nostalgic elements and their functions in the structure of the films, taking into account their story, characters, settings, film style, narration, genre, and audience response (identification, causality of emotional experience). Czech ostalgic films about the normalisation period are interpretively ambivalent. The interpretational tension appears out of a fundamental divide between a clear refusal of communism and an idyllic view of the socialist past. They cannot be simply classified into restorative or reflective nostalgia. The younger generation of spectators perceives ostalgic films in the mode of reflective nostalgia; on the other hand, the older generation perceive the films in terms of restorative nostalgia. A different way of perceiving ostalgia reveals a misunderstanding between generations of the current Czech society. Due to singular anti-communist viewpoints and emphasised liberal values, the films cannot be interpreted in a desire for an idealised home in a communist past, but as a desire for a present home and its security, which cannot be clearly conceptualised. The concept of reflective nostalgia can be linked with the theory of Berdhal. The films cannot be perceived as a desire for an idealised home in a communist past due to specific anti-communist viewpoints and highlighted liberal values, but as a need for a home and security that cannot be directly conceptualised. This appearance of reflective nostalgia can be connected with the theory stated by Berdhal. View Full-Text
Keywords: nostalgia; ostalgia; Czech film; Czech history; normalisation; post-communism nostalgia; ostalgia; Czech film; Czech history; normalisation; post-communism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ptáček, L. Ostalgia in Czech Films about Normalisation Created Post-1989. Humanities 2018, 7, 118.

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