From the American Wild West to Bojszowy: Józef Kłyk’s Westerns as Social Rituals
Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.
Józef Kłyk is an over 60 year old amateur film maker from Silesia region of Poland who for over 30 years has directed over 50 westerns. All his western movies are made with 16mm Russian camera and the shooting is done on location in or near the village of Bojszowo, with the use of local people as actors and film crew Kłyk’s films are a premier on the icons and symbols of the American Wild West: cowboys, Indians, saloons and ‘Wanted ‘signs. In his film stories the Author invokes the history of the American West and the history of Silesian villagers who in 1854 left for Texas and founded Panna Maria. The paper aims to examine the incorporation of the concept of this classical American film genre with its main distinguishing features in amateur production of the Polish director. It will focus on the ritual character of the genre movie and demonstrate how Kłyk’s western production is used by local community of the village of Bojszowo for ritual purposes. Reconstruction of village and rebuilding the history of Polish emigrants in Panna Maria within the form of film genre serve basic social function of expressing, fixing and reinforcing the shared values and beliefs of a community.
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