Stranger than Paradise: Postcommunist Immigration in the Eyes of Self and ‘Other’



Since the beginning of the millennium, Eastern European cinemas have produced a number of films, devoted to the problems of post-communist immigrants ‘there,’ in the new lands of promise, and of the feelings of those, left behind ‘here,’ in their native lands. It is enough to mention the Bulgarian Letter to America (2001), The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (2008) and The Sinking of Sozopol (2014) as well as the Romanian Sundays on Leave (1993) and Occident (2001). In addition to the few Eastern European films on human trafficking, like the Hungarian Bibliotheque Pascal (2010) and Bulgarian Face Down (2015), there have begun to appear films about migrants who pass through the postcommunist countries on their way to Western Europe like the Romanian film Morgen (2011) and the Bulgarian The Judgement (2014). This paper therefore is an attempt at mapping the territory by creating a taxonomy of the representation of emigration and immigration in postcommunist Eastern European cinemas. By building on theories of the ‘gaze’ and on efforts to adapt a post-colonial approach to Eastern European cultural production, the paper also lays the foundation of a complex and subject-specific methodological approach.

Keywords: Eastern Europe, postcommunist, post-colonial, self-colonizing, gaze, (im) migration, emigration, human-trafficking

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.18.2