It’s tempting to think that the genesis for the bleak Polish film Cold War came when director Pawel Pawlikowski picked up a copy of Theodor Adorno’s The Culture Industry, read Chapter 1, “On The Fetish Character of Music and the Regression of Listening,” struck his forehead with his fist and said, “I’m going to make a film of this!” But there’s more to the film than just its trenchant commentary on the ruinous uses of folk music and cultural heritage by the Soviets. The movie also has much to say about the problems with authenticity, cultural heritage, and what Louis Althusser called “our imagined relationship...

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