Call for papers for the themed issue: Fiction in Central and Eastern European Film Theory and Practice


Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe


Call for papers for the themed issue


Fiction in Central and Eastern European Film Theory and Practice


Guest edited by Alexander Bareis and Mario Slugan


There is a rich theory of fiction in Central and Eastern European thought ranging from the concept’s relation to epistemology (Hans Vaihinger) and literature (Käte Hamburger) to the more recent developments in narratology (Monika Fludernik), fictional worlds theories (Lubomír Doležel) and psychoanalysis (Slavoj Žižek). Although applied to a range of media and domains other than literature, it is the communication model derived from the analysis of literary fiction that still dominates theorising about fiction. The popular idea in Anglo-Saxon analytical philosophy that fiction is not necessarily best described as a mode of communication, but rather as a complex, rule-based game of imagination in the fashion of children playing with their toys as props (Walton Kendall) has had little currency in the region. When it comes to film, moreover, even though the privileged domain of film theory has been fiction film, theorists have rarely contemplated how the very nature of fiction informs their theories. Béla Bálazs famously maintained that the content of film images lives in the present. But how can we have a temporal relation to fictional worlds depicted on screen to begin with? Soviet film theorists and filmmakers theorised and exploited the ability to produce specific affects in the audience. But they left the paradox of fiction unanswered: how can fictive entities cause actual emotions in audiences? In the case of film history, finally, the categories of fiction and non-fiction have been taken for granted with Méliès’ trick-films exemplifying the former and the Lumière brothers’ actualities the latter. When it comes to fiction/non-fiction dichotomy Siegfried Kracauer’s verdict remains the common wisdom: “The films they [Lumière and Méliès] made embody, so to speak, thesis and antithesis in a Hegelian sense” (1960, 30). But why not treat The Arrival of a Train as a short fiction about a train arriving at the station and A Trip to the Moon as a documentary recording (with a lot of substitution splicing) of actors playing on a theatre set? The fiction / non-fiction divide in film studies needs to be addressed both theoretically and case-specific, incorporating new theoretical approaches from different fields.

Therefore, this special issue of Apparatus invites contributions to theorising film fiction as well as analysing the way Central and Eastern European filmmakers and theorists have engaged fiction. Topics may include but are not limited to:

-       what is fiction film? How do we distinguish it from non-fiction?

-       theories of fiction and its relation to cinema (Vaihinger, Hamburger, Fludernik, Žižek, Doležel, Iurii Lotman, etc.)

-       potential for cross-fertilization with Anglo-Saxon theories of fiction (Kendall Walton, Gregory Currie, etc.)

-       the importance of fiction for film theory and history (Bálazs, Kracauer, etc.),

-       fictionalization of historical events in Soviet filmmakers (Sergei Eizenshtein, Lev Kuleshov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, etc.)?

-       the relation of authenticity to fiction (Czech new wave, Yugoslav black wave, Romanian new wave, Russian new authenticity, etc.)

-       the relationship of documentary and fiction filmmaking in an auteur’s oeuvre (Krzysztof Kieślowski, Werner Herzog, Ulrich Seidl, etc.)

-       fiction/non-fiction hybridity throughout the history of cinema (docudramas, reenactments, fake newsreels, Hale’s tours, etc.)

The Special Issue of Apparatus is scheduled for publication in Spring 2019.

In the first instance, please send abstracts of 300 to 500 words, together with the title, up to 5 references, a short bio, contact details and institutional affiliation to the guest editors of the Special Issue of Apparatus – Alexander Bareis ( and Mario Slugan ( – for initial selection. Although for this themed issue we prefer abstracts in either English or German, in line with the Apparatus policy to publishes articles in all of the languages of Central and Eastern Europe abstracts in other languages of the region will also be considered. Selected articles will undergo an editorial and double-blind peer reviewed process before final acceptance.

Deadlines for abstracts: 30 March 2018

Notifications of acceptance: 27 April 2018

Deadlines for full articles:  28 September 2018