Love Your Neighbor: Nazi Soldiers and Femmes Fatales in Czech Cinema

TitleLove Your Neighbor: Nazi Soldiers and Femmes Fatales in Czech Cinema
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHalas, Matus
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Date Published08/2017

Analysis of popular culture can offer a better understanding of spatial representations prevailing in the everyday discourse than the insights inferred from official statements or mainstream scientific textbooks. Our everyday thinking about Central European space might be significantly different from representations outlined in texts written by intellectuals and politicians. In fact, there is a telling absence of common features among representations of different Central European countries in Czech films. These representations shape the process of meaning-making and they can help us better grasp the position of a country in relation to its neighbors too. Except for Germany and Slovakia, other actors from the immediate vicinity are virtually non-existent in Czech visual popular culture. While Germans are mostly male Nazi soldiers, Slovakia is described as an underdeveloped, mountainous territory with oversupply of beautiful, vivacious women. Data from 50 box-office hits and critically acclaimed movies produced during the last 20 years illustrate this argument. Such a systematic study of popular culture is not only more revealing than a simple focus on a few illustrative artworks, but it also increases the added value of discourse analysis that pays attention to predication and membership categories.

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