From The Journal Of Screenwriting V10 Issue 3: Reel by reel: Jan Stanislav Kolár’s narrative poetics in the context of transition to feature-length format in Czech silent cinema by Martin Kos

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


Reel by reel: Jan Stanislav Kolár’s narrative poetics in the context of transition to feature-length format in Czech silent cinema by Martin Kos

This article examines the screenwriting practice in Czech silent cinema in the late 1910s and 1920s. It focuses on Jan Stanislav Kolár’s narrative poetics as a case study of specific storytelling choices within the transitional era from one- or two-reelers to the feature-length format in the context of local technological restrictions in exhibition – inevitable breaks of changing film reels in single-projector cinemas. Poetological analysis of Kolár’s Řina (1926) with his other surviving scenarios and pictures shows that meant not only the necessity of adapting to these limitations, but also became a productive way of achieving particular effects on the audience. Semi-independent narrative acts, thrilling moments occurring at the end of the reel, or significant shifts in space and time between two reels were integral parts of his own original stories as well as adaptations of various novels. Nevertheless, the article outlines more general perspective in relation to film reels as structural narrative units and screenwriting practice among Czech filmmakers as well.


The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

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