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Rafał Syska (born July 18, 1974 in Kielce) is a Polish film historian and writer. He is an associate professor in the Audiovisual Arts Department of Jagiellonian University in Cracow. At the beginning of his career he was specialized in the phenomenon of violence in cinema (Ph-D thesis Film and Violence. Ways of Film Violence Representation), then he focused on strategies of authorship in American cinema (post Ph-D., habilitation dissertation Keep the Distance. Film World of Robert Altman). At present he is an expert of the contemporary minimalistic slow-cinema, especially its neomodernism tendencies (e.g. works of Alexander Sokurov, Béla Tarr, Bruno Dumont, Sarunas Bartas, Fred Kelemen, Tsai Ming-liang, Lisandro Alonso, Carlos Reygadas.
He published a book upon Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos Poetry of Picture. He was also editor of the dictionary Film Dictionary and now he is a co-editor of a numerous-volume books: Masters of American Cinema and History of Cinema.
At the Audiovisual Arts Department, he conducts lectures in courses: Film interpretation, History of world cinema and Ways of contemporary cinema. Three times he did the research in United States, financed by Polish Ministry of Science and The Kosciuszko Foundation. In 2012 he was a scholar visiting at Columbia University in New York
Syska was also a grant holder of the Stanislaw Estreicher Foundation, Polityka Weekly Magazine as well as prestigious Foundation for Polish Science and The Kosciuszko Foundation. In 2009 he was awarded by Rector of Jagiellonian University and received a nomination to Boleslaw Michalek Prize for the best film studies book. In years 1994-2004, he was co-creator of International Film Festival Etiuda & Anima in Cracow and twice he was its co-director. He is publishing his essays in Polish magazines: Kino, Kwartalnik filmowy and Didaskalia. He is a founder and editor-in-chief of "EKRANy" bi-monthly film magazine. In 2014 he was a curator of the exhibition Stanley Kubrick in the National Museum in Crakow.
- 100 thrillers, Rabid, Kraków, 2002.
- Film and Violence. Ways of Film Violence Representation, Rabid, Kraków, 2003.
- Film Dictionary (editor), Zielona Sowa, Kraków 2005.
- Masters of American Cinema, vol. 1 Classics, co-editor Łukasz A. Plesnar, Rabid, Kraków 2006.
- Masters of American Cinema, vol. 2 Rebel and Nostalgia, co-editor Łukasz A. Plesnar, Rabid, Kraków 2007.
- Poetry of Pictures. Theo Angelopoulos Films, Rabid, Kraków 2008.
- Keep the Distance. Film World of Robert Altman, Rabid, Kraków 2008.
- History of Cinema, vol. 1. Silent Cinema, co-editor Tadeusz Lubelski, Iwona Sowińska, Universitas, Kraków 2009.
- Masters of American Cinema, vol. 3 Present Time, co-editor Łukasz A. Plesnar, Rabid, Kraków 2010.
- History of Cinema, vol. 2. Classical Cinema, co-editor Tadeusz Lubelski, Iwona Sowińska, Universitas, Kraków 2011.
- Adaptation of American Literature, editor, EKRANy, Kraków 2013.
- Neomodernism in Cinema, Avalon, Kraków 2014.
- Terror Cinema [in] Film Genre. Yesterday and Today, Krzysztof Loska (ed.), Rabid Kraków 1998.
- Aggression and Evil. Ways of 20th Century Destructivness [in] Iconical Violence or New Sight, Eugeniusz Wilk (ed.), WUŚ Katowice 2001.
- Thriller as a Genre [in] Around Film Genre, Krzysztof Loska (ed.), Kraków 2002.
- Revolution that has not come. Upon political context of Rainer Werner Fassbinder works [in] Masters of European Cinema, Grażyna Stachówna, Joanna Wojnicka (ed.), Kraków 2002.
- Janusz Morgenstern. In the Trap of Present Time [w:] Authors of Polish Cinema, Grażyna Stachówna, Joanna Wojnicka (ed.), Kraków 2004.
- Béla Tarr. Wheel is Over [in] Authors of European Cinema, vol. 3, Alicja Helman, Andrzej Pitrus (ed.), Rabid, Kraków 2007.
- Michael Haneke – In Feeling of Guilt [in] New Audiovisual – New Paradigm of Culture?, Eugeniusz Wilk, Iwona Kolasińska-Pasterczyk (ed.), Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, Kraków 2008.
- Bruno Dumont – Looking [in] Authors of European Cinema, Alicja Helman, Andrzej Pitrus (ed.), Rabid, Kraków 2009.
- Marlowe from the Beyond. „The Long Goodbye” by Robert Altman [in] „Studia filmoznawcze” nr 29, Sławomir Bobowski (ed.), Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, Wrocław 2009.
- The Beginning of American Cineman [in] History of Cinema, vol. 1, Silent Cinema, Tadeusz Lubelski, Iwona Sowińska, Rafał Syska (ed.), Universitas, Kraków 2009.
- David Lynch. Sad Cinema About Death [in] Masters of American Cinema, vol. 3., Present Time, Łukasz Plesnar, Rafał Syska (ed.), Rabid, Kraków 2009.
- Experience of the internal cinema. Narration in Inland Empire by David Lynch [in:] "Kwartalnik filmowy" 71-72/2010.
- Don Kichote by Orson Welles: Unfinished Journey onto the Moon [in:] From Cervantes to Perez-Reverte. Adaptation of Spanish Literature, ed. Alicja Helman i Kamila Żyto, Warszawa: Kino Rabid 2010.
- Theory of Meaning by David Bordwell, "EKRANy" 1-2,3/2012.
- Neomodernism. Slow-Motion Cinema, "EKRANy" 1-2/2012.
- Internal Women World. Early Works by Chantal Akerman, "Kwartalnik filmowy" 79/2012.
- Nostalgia for Tarkovsky. Films of Carlos Reygadas and Alexandr Sokurov [in:] Film Zone. Cinema of Andrey Tarkovsky, ed. Iwona Anna NDiaye, Marek Sokołowski, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2013.
- Split screen – History of Shattered World, "EKRANy" 2013, 5 (15).
- Time-lasting. Gilles Deleuze in Contemporary Cinema, "EKRANy" 2014, 2 (18).
- Art-hard core, "EKRANy" 2014, 3-4 (19-20).
- We Are All Kubricks, "Dekada Krakowska" 3/4 (13/14) 2014.