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Call for papers: Pola Negri and the Vicissitudes of Stardom - FINA International Conference

Special Event of Silent Movie Festival (Święto Niemego Kina)

We can say that 2017 was the year of Pola Negri: she was born 120 years earlier, it’s the 30th anniversary of her death, and the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Bestia, the only surviving film from the early Polish period of her career. On this occasion the National Film Archive-Audiovisual Institute, in pursuit of its mission to protect national cultural heritage, has carried out a restoration project of the film. The Polish re-premiere will take place in April 2018 at the annual Silent Movie Festival (Święto Niemego Kina). Pola Negri will be the main theme of both the festival and an International Conference, organized by FINA, with additional support by film scholars from leading Polish universities, in conjunction with the Giornate del Cinema Muto and in collaboration with EYE Filmmuseum.


The conference will serve as a platform for exchanging information on the latest findings and offers a forum for exploring various aspects of Pola’s Negri career, including her legacy today, as well as the people of her epoch who shaped her artistic education, and those she in turn influenced.

Topics of interest:

The Polish beginnings of her career in ballet and theatre

Aspects we hope to cover include the Polish theatrical and dance scene in the 1910s (The Warsaw Imperial Ballet School and its teachers at the beginning of the 20th century; the Imperial Academy of Dramatic Arts; Warszawskie Teatry Rządowe; Teatr Mały).

Among the key figures we encourage scholars to address are:

Alexander Hertz; Honorata Leszczyńska; Kazimierz Hulewicz/Casimir de Hulewicz; Ryszard Ordyński; Eugeniusz Dąmbski/Eugene Dambski; Jadwiga Smosarska (as Sphinx’s next star following Negri’s departure for Germany).

The Sphinx Studio and Polish cinema culture during the First World War


Pola Negri in Germany

Aside from specific films, topics and people we hope will be addressed include:

Max Reinhardt and Negri’s theatre tours with the impresario; Kurt Matull and Saturn-Film; Eugen Illés; Negri’s creative relationship with Ernst Lubitsch.


Negri in the U.S.

Aside from specific films, topics we hope will be addressed include:

Was her U.S. career the failure that is now accepted as fact?

How did the Hollywood publicity machine affect her career and legacy?

Did Negri “adapt” her style to suit Hollywood tastes?

Coverage of Negri in the Polish émigré newspapers


The coming of sound

The place of Paul Czinner's The Way of Lost Souls in her oeuvre

Negri’s early American sound films

Return to Germany, 1934-38


In addition to the above themes, we encourage scholars to also consider the following as suitable topics for exploration:

Pola Negri as the inspiration for other actresses (whether imitation or parody)

Pola Negri as a fashion icon/trendsetter and as pop culture icon

The enduring legacy of Negri’s dance training in her performances

The evolution of Negri’s image

Negri’s legendary status in the Polish pre- and postwar collective imagination

Negri’s 1970 autobiography Memoirs of a Star and a discussion of its errors and misinformation


The FINA’s International Conference, attached to ŚNK 2018, will take place in Warsaw, Wałbrzyska 3/5, from 19 to 20 April 2018. There is no conference fee. Participants are also invited to screenings and side events of the ŚNK at the Cinema Iluzjon.


Please send proposals (max. 350 words) along with a short bio (max. 100 words) to before 15 February.




The conference scientific committee:

Karolina Brzozowska (FINA)

Barbara Giza, Prof. (SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities/FINA)

Paulina Haratyk (FINA)

Michał Oleszczyk, Ph.D. (Warsaw University)

Małgorzata Radkiewicz, Prof. (Jagiellonian University)

Grzegorz Rogowski (FINA)

Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi (EYE Filmmuseum)

Monika Talarczyk-Gubała, Prof. (Lodz Film School)

Katarzyna Wajda (FINA)

Jay Weissberg (Pordenone Silent Film Festival)

Elżbieta Wysocka, Ph.D. (FINA)


Organizing Commitee (FINA):

Karolina Brzozowska

Paulina Haratyk

Katarzyna Mikstal

Michał Pieńkowski

Grzegorz Rogowski

Katarzyna Wajda

Elżbieta Wysocka

Filmoteka Narodowa-Instytut Audiowizualny, Warsaw, Wałbrzyska 3/5,

19-20 April 2018

Special Event of Silent Movie Festival (Święto Niemego Kina)

Languages: Polish, English

Deadline for submissions: 15 February 2018

  • „Mania” (1918), dir. Eugen Illes

    fot. Fototeka FINA