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Zsombor Bobák
Doctoral candidate, second cohort (2020-2023)

Cruising Invisible Histories: Queer Archival Methods Animating LGBTQ+ Histories Through Moving Images in Central and Eastern Europe

This dissertation project investigates distinctively queer archival practices in moving images that are aiming to excavate, (re)construct, (re)imagine, and through their artistic and creative processes, animate LGBTQ+ histories in Central and Eastern Europe. The impetus behind the project is the question of how to imagine the future of LGBTQ+ communities in this specific region, when their past is obliterated? As such, I would like to explore the possibilities and limitations of reworking history in Central and Eastern Europe via queer filmic interventions while also examining the role of moving images in the historiography of LGBTQ+ communities. Diving into an ever evolving, manifold, and fluid arena of moving image cultures, the dissertation project challenges the heteronormative structures on which film history has been constructed and addresses a variety of queer modes of looking and formation that blur the line between center and periphery; canonical and non-canonical; fiction and documentary; cinematic and non-cinematic. Ultimately, I approach the moving image in this research as a crucial site of social activism and a catalyst for socio-political change, and I would like to grasp the means through which the case studies of my project extort their transformative power.

Fig. 1:
Screenshot from Hot Men Cold Dictatorships (Mária Takács, 2015), Vimeo.
Fig. 2:
Screenshot from Misunderstanding (Piotr Majdrowicz, 1978), Enthusiasts Archive.
Fig. 3:
Screenshot from The Lure (Agnieszka Smoczyńska, 2015), Kino Świat, 2016.
Fig. 4:
Jaanus Samma: NSFW. A Chairman’s Tale, September 30, 2021,


Zsombor Bobák is a PhD candidate in the Graduiertenkolleg “Configurations of Film.” He studied Film and Visual Culture within the Liberal Arts and Sciences (B.A.) Program of Amsterdam University College, and he graduated in the Heritage Studies: Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image (M.A.) Program at the University of Amsterdam. He contributes on a regular basis to the work of the TEDDY Award, the queer film prize of the Berlinale. His main research interests are queer cinema, porn studies, film festival studies, and archival practices.