APPETITE FOR CRAZY DREAMS. VHS TAPES IN POLAND DURING THE TRANSFORMATION
Grzegorz Fortuna (VHS Hell)
16.09 (Saturday) / 12:00 (noon) / Sala Kinowa / ADMISSION FREE
At the turn of 80’s and 90’s in Poland, video tapes were a valuable and coveted commodity. When the country was under communist rule, the VHSs were smuggled into Poland by sailors, pilots and stewardesses. They made it possible to see films which were otherwise unavailable and after the change of the system to catch up with the current cinema and get acquainted with genre movies from abroad. This all meant that video tapes became something much more important than just a medium – the VHS came to be a symbol of the transformation and a window to the world of western popculture.
During the lecture we’ll try to reconstruct the image of the Polish video tapes’ market, both from the social, as well as the economical and institutional points of view. We will look at the first public screenings organised by student communities, at the way the distributors acquired rights to new films, what techniques video pirates used, and how the unfair competition was dealt with. We will learn which films were watched the most by the Polish audience and the way the video stores worked. The lecture will be carried out using a number of materials from the era of VHS.
Grzegorz Fortuna – PhD student at the philological department of Gdansk University. He was awarded a Krzysztof Mętrak prize for young film critics (2016). Fortuna publishes in “Ekrany” and “Kino”, as well as many prominent film websites. A member of the VHS Hell collective and spokesman for the Cult Films Festival. He’s writing a PhD thesis on the video market and culture in Poland during the transformation. An enthusiast of Polish pop culture of the turn of the 80’s and 90’s, old Italian genre films and horrors. He’s into everything that’s forgotten and underrated.
Lecture in Polish.