Mathieu Lericq: Research & CV

Troubling Intimacies in Communist Poland Films (1968-1989): the Birth of a Bio-Cinema?

Research Area 2: Norms & Transgressions


My research project deals with the presence and values granted to bodies in East-Central European cinema during the Communist era (1968-1989). At the crossroad between aesthetics and anthropology, it aims at showing how the images related to affective, family and sexual relationships became a space where modalities of “resistance” pertaining to civil society could develop.

Based on multiple archive sources, this research aims at supporting an idea raised in contemporary historiography according to which, beyond the visible currents of political and artistic dissidence, less obvious forms of opposition were born, that were no less powerful in their daily impact. The relatively hidden movements to legitimize homosexuality belong to the criticism against the symbolical order of the time.

The corpus of films studied is comprised of about ten works of very different styles that were directed by renowned film directors (Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Andrzej Zuławski, Jerzy Skolimowski), badly known (Janusz Kijowski, Barbara Sass, Marcel Łoziński) and even utterly unknown (Piotr Majdrowicz). They all share in common the way they approached, through poetic forms, the bodies not only as a target for the Socialist power (as activated by the threats engendered by the Cold War) but also as a vector through which imposed patterns are questioned for the benefit of a more subjective truth.

The troubling ethical experience of bodies that unfolds in these films is grounded in a history of visions whose modes, limits and impacts will be thoroughly considered in the light of the theoretical propositions of Leszek Kołakowski and Michel Foucault.



2014— : PhD studies in Film Studies, Aix-Marseille University (LESA)

2010-2012: 2nd year of Master in Film Studies, Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle University, specialization in Cultural History and Anthropology. Dissertation title: La promesse d’une mémoire – Des décombres aux déchets : expérience de ruines dans “Kanał” et “Cendres et diamant” d’Andrzej Wajda

2009-2010: 1st year of Master in Film Studies, Jagelloński University (Cracow), under the supervision of Tadeusz Lubelski

2008-2009: BA in Film Studies, and BA in Literary Studies

2006-2008: Preparatory Classes for ENS LSH (École Normale Supérieure, Lyon), at Lycée Frédéric Mistral (Avignon)

Research Stays

2016: Polish Government Grant (Polish Embassy in France). Stay at Jagelloński University under the supervision of Tadeusz Lubelski

2015: Grant and short research stay at March Bloch Center (Berlin)

2009-2010: Erasmus grant and research stay at Jagelloński University under the supervision of Tadeusz Lubelski

Teaching Experience

2017/2018: Film Studies at Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 University.

2016/2017: Film Studies at Aix-Marseille University (1st semester), at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3 University (2nd semester).

Research Organization

2017: Organization of the international conference on ‘Homosexualité communiste (1945-1989)’ in Paris (Paris-Est Créteil, EHESS, Paris-Sorbonne).


  • (forthcoming) “Exposer un corps “homosexualisé” en Pologne (post)communiste : l’archéologie d’un trouble”. Proceedings of the international conference on Représentations-limites des corps sexualisés dans le cinéma et l’audiovisuel contemporains, Collection Théorème, Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelles, 2017.
  • “Le cinéma de Krzysztof Kieślowski (1966-88) : une expérience politique de l’intime”. In: Tadeusz Lubelski, Ania Szczepanska (eds.), La double vie de Kieślowski, conference proceedings, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, HiCSA website, 2017, pp. 110-128.
  • “La caméra dans la plaie : notice sur L’Homme blessé (1983)”. In: Myriam Tsykounas (ed.), Chéreau à l’œuvre, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2016, pp. 187-190.
  • “Masculinités laborieuses : corps d’ouvriers et des travailleurs face au trouble du genre dans le cinéma polonais (1953-2010)”. In: Geneviève Sellier (ed.), Masculinités imaginées, magazine Genre en Séries : cinéma, télévision, médias, no. 4, pp. 58-84.
  • “Constater une présence : personnes hors-normes et personnages homosexuels dans le documentaire est-européen depuis 1989”. In: Nadège Ragaru, Ania Szczepanska (eds.), L’écriture documentaire de l’histoire : le montage en récit. Conference proceedings, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, HiCSA website, online 9.09.2016, pp. 56-72.


Papers at conferences and seminars

  • 2017: International conference on ‘Sensibility and the senses : Media, Bodies, Practices’ (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3). Paper title: “A Feeling of History: Polish Films As a Sentitive Tool for Rethinking the (Communist) Past in the Contemporary Academic World”.
  • 2016: International conference on ‘La Double Vie de Kieślowski’ (Université Paris Sorbonne). Paper title: “Krzysztof Kieślowski entre intimité et intimidation. Une anthropologie filmique du geste”.
  • 2015: International conference on ‘Représentations-limites des corps sexualisés dans le cinéma et l’audiovisuel contemporains’ (Université Paris 3, IRCAV). Paper title: “Exposer le corps homosexualisé : archéologie performative d’un interdit visuel”.
  • 2015: International conference on ‘L’écriture documentaire de l’histoire : le montage en récit’ (HiCSA, Université Paris 1, Paris). Paper title: “De la personne hors-normes au personnage homosexuel : stratégies de légitimation identitaire dans le documentaire est-européen”.
  • 2015: International conference on ‘Sex and sexualities in Central and Eastern Europe’ (Central European University, Budapest). Paper title: “Red flag and pink taboo : How to negociate homosexual cinematic genealogies in Central-Eastern Europe (1968-2015)”.
  • 2015: International conference on ‘Violence, Representations and Sexuality- International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics’ (Ghent University, Belgique). Paper title: “Homosexualities facing (Post-)communist repressions – a cinematic genealogy of fear and violence”.
  • 2014: International conference on ‘Screen memories – Depictions of State Socialism and 1989 in Screen Media’ – International Film Festival & Conference (Budapest). Paper title: “Queer communism in cinema : issues of bodies and power within GDR and Hungary in the 1980’s”.
  • 2014: International conference on ‘25 Years After: The Challenges of Building the Post-Communist Media and Communications Industries’ (New York University, Prague). Paper title: “Post-Communism and homosexuality: from repression to recognition, fiction and documentary cinema facing a political and social taboo”.
  • 2014: International conference on ‘Comment j’ai fêté la fin du monde. 1989 dans le cinéma d’Europe centrale et orientale’ (Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin). Paper title: “(Post-)Communisme et homosexualité au cinéma : Le coming-out de 1989 comme annonciateur d’une (partielle) levée d’un tabou social ».
  • 2014: workshop on ‘L’écriture documentaire de l’histoire : le communisme diffracté dans l’après-1989 (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne).


  • French: fluent
  • English: intermediary level
  • German: intermediary level
  • Polish: intermediary level