The author analyses Polish comedy, which is the favourite genre of the Polish audience. He seeks meaning related to national identity and shared imagination in the characters, dialogues, landscapes, and comedy catchphrases that entered the Polish language. Starting with pre war comedies such as the 'Forgotten Melody' (Zapomniana melodia, 1938) by Konrad Tom and Jan Fethke, and ending with the 'Day of the Wacko' (Dzien Swira, 2002) by Marek Koterski, he shows how these films define the nation. He shows how the elements defining the nation are connected to the political and historical situation. He also shows how the 'community of laughter' has always been one of the strongest elements of shared identity. Elements that used to be considered to be the most important ones in the mythology of nationhood, are now presented as ones that underwent degeneration, and are ruthlessly critiqued. This is particularly visible in the 'Day of the Wacko', which questions, mocks and de-mythologises all the elements of the national mythology, including its language.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.