Film Paper Signifiers & Signifieds and Myth & Nation in Kolya

This film takes place during the final days of Communism in Czechoslovakia, at a time when the weakening Communist state was beginning to lose a hold on some aspects of society, such as the black market, rules about immigration and emigration, when many people were finding ways to undermine the power of a state whose strict rules could not provide the kind of order appropriate to the society.  Your paper assignment (below) will ask you to look closely at the film and write about where and how you see nationalism, symbols of national identity, and conflicts over these emerging in everyday life, and influencing or even determining the lives of individuals.  Do we see Czech nationalism as liberal, or illiberal?  Is Kolya himself a kind of nationalist?  Can children be held accountable as members of a nation (or outsiders to a nation), when considering the normative claims of nations for historical justice?
If you are not in Lubbock, you can rent the film from Amazon for a modest fee.  You can also contact the TTU Library to request a copy of the film be mailed to you (this may take a couple of weeks, so plan ahead if you plan to use this).  Or you can find a copy of the film (make sure it has subtitles!) from another local or university library, or any other source.

This paper should be 1,200-1,500 words long (about 4-5 pages) and should draw on the film Kolya, as well as other reading for the course that shed light on the historical and psychological building blocks and everyday practices connected to nation and group identity. Please use quotes properly (but sparingly) and cite authors appropriately. You may choose a citation style, and you can find a guide here (note: for the film, just use the title, director, & year, which you can find on IMDB). List some of the major signifiers of nation that are seen in the film; which ones can be seen in the behavior of Franta Louka, and which ones can be seen in the behavior of Kolya? Compare and contrast the role of each of the following in the dramatic conflict or problem the film presents, and how it is resolved: • National identity differences • Non-national personal differences (age, family relationship, etc) • Formal bureaucratic rules and laws (including those of the Communist state) Make an argument about the importance of nation (compared to these other two) to the human drama of the story, and to how the main characters live their lives. Keep in mind that you are being asked to apply your own critical thinking capacity to this film to come up with your own argument. There are four main components I will consider in evaluating your writing: 1. Effectively deploying concepts from the course and examples from the film to make a point, and show that you grasp the concepts and have engaged with the works. 2. Quality/Creativity of the argument or point, and how clearly the point is explained. 3. Proper use evidence, facts, and logic to back up your argument (including citing evidence properly). 4. Correct grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

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