Research Profile of the Department
The research profile of the Department is characterized by a focus on primary research, especially in the area of Czech and Central European cinematography. Field of interest and methods include, among other things, reception studies, oral history, production studies, history of nonfiction forms, poetics of fiction, exile cinematography, and spiritual film. The key source for historical research is the research paradigm of so-called new film history based on a shift from exploring the text to exploring the context, i.e. examining the history of cinematography in broad social, economic and cultural contexts.
The research is carried out in close connection with foreign scientific groups and centers and the results are published at prestigious domestic and international publishing and conference addresses. The research results reach the broader public as well, in the form of popularizing texts, book editing, curatorship of festival retrospectives and exhibitions, or expert studies and testimonials. Through special workshops and projects, students have a significant involvement in research activity, including publication outputs.
The key themes and projects with national excellence and international relevance have recently been:
Cinematic Brno (History of Cinema in Brno) is a long-term departmental project in the field of comparative research of local film history. It focuses on the history of film distribution, presentation and reception in Brno, a “second class” metropolis, where the Czech, German and Jewish cultural and entrepreneurial influence is intensively interconnected. The project includes an extensive database of cinemas and their programs. The database will be linked to similar projects in Leicester, Ghent, Gothenburg, Utrecht and Bari, allowing an international comparison of distribution sector dynamics, distribution and presentation practices, or the presence of various national cinematographies and their popularity with the audience. History of Cinema in Brno is also part of the international research network HoMER (History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception).
Comparative Research and History of Cultural Transfer
Comparative Research and History of Cultural Transfer represent approaches that place the history of the Czech and Czechoslovak film industry into a wider perspective of the development of European film culture. For example, we are examining the impact of the occupational cultural policy in the period of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on the film production and organization of the film industry, we compare the development of film distribution and presentation in the Eastern Bloc countries, we research the transformation of spectator preferences in the Czech lands in comparison with pan-European tendencies. In this context, we have participated in the most extensive empirical research of spectator reception ever done (The World Hobbit Research Project). In collaboration with film historians from Germany, the United States, Poland, France and Italy, we are researching film co-productions as a specific type of film production that has wide cultural, political and industrial connections.
Poetics of Fiction
A set of research projects that can be included in the poetics of fiction program tackles the problems associated with the artistic structure of works: ways of narration and use of different means of film media. At the most historical level, it is the research of (a) the history of narration and working with style in the Czech silent film, (b) the historical specificity and the non-specificities of narrative tactics in contemporary Hollywood film. Less historically-conditioned aesthetic standards examine more focused centered on (a) forms and standards of an ongoing narrative, (b) on ways of working with spectator attention in very long films.
Czech non-fiction and Documentary Film
The history of Czech non-fiction and documentary film is one of the less studied topics in domestic territory, although film production of this kind has been systematically supported here and developed since the beginning of cinematography at the end of the 19th century. Non-fiction and documentary film is being studied in the whole spectrum of its variance (experimental and avant-garde, popular-scientific, amateur, etc.). We mainly focus on the institutional conditionality and political-economic contexts (interests of the state, scientific and other elites), as well as on the social-critical potential of this type of work. Such research is linked to current science-research trends in the field as developed by film historians at UCL in the UK, Stockholm University in Sweden, Marburg Universität in Germany or Université de Montréal in Canada, among which the research stands out in studying government film procurement in conditions of state socialism.