The Kinoteka Polish Film Festival enters its second decade with a line-up as fresh and exciting as ever. Taking place between March 7th and March 17th, this year’s programme includes a restored Andrzej Wajda classic, a live psychedelic film score and a series of challenging works. Kinoteka will also be getting interactive for its 11th outing, taking in film workshops for all ages and a brand new national film competition, not to mention the mouth-watering accompaniment of Polish culinary delights.
Full information, including details of those workshops and much more, can be found at the Kinoteka website, whilst below we’ve listed the entirety of the main film programme:
(Shortly after the festival Second Run will be releasing Polish Cinema Classics Volume II, including Promised Land, Escape from the ‘Liberty’ Cinema and Illumination. The Digital Fix intends to publish reviews of these films, and some of the other titles playing, during the festival.)
OPENING GALA: THE PROMISED LAND (ZIEMIA OBIECANA) Andrzej Wajda, 1974
An epic story of three ambitious young men searching for their dreams of prosperity by starting a textile factory together: Karol, a Pole (Daniel Olbrychski); Moryc, a Jew (Wojciech Pszoniak); and Max, a German (Andrzej Seweryn). However, deceptions, emotional manipulations and acts of sabotage lay bare the unbridled capitalism and human cost that lies underneath the veneer of industrial progress. This incisive and elegantly-realized Dickensian tale of greed, human cruelty, exploitation, and betrayal earned Wajda the first of his four Best Foreign Film Oscar nominations.
This rare screening of the original full cinema version of the film will be introduced by Andrzej Wajda through a recorded personal address, and followed by a Q&A with its lead actor, Wojciech Pszoniak.
Barbican Centre Cinema 1, 7.30pm
SHAMELESS (BEZ WSTYDU) Filip Marczewski, 2012
In this moving story of forbidden love, 18-year-old Tadek finds himself overwhelmed by feelings for his sister, an affection he wants to prove regardless of the consequences. His sister, living in a relationship with the local neo-fascist group leader, feels lost and longs for intimacy and tenderness as much as her brother does. Then, 17-year-old gypsy, Irmina, appears on the scene. She wants to change her destiny and believes that Tadek can help her….
Riverside Studios, 3.00pm
IN THE BEDROOM (W SYPIALNI) Tomasz Wasilewski, 2012
40-year-old Edyta, on the run from her family, moves to Warsaw where, penniless and alone, she is forced to date accidental men she meets on the Internet. First she drugs her dates and then spends the night in her ‘hosts’ apartments. However, when she fails to drug 35-year-old Patryk, she starts instead to get to know her ‘host’. What ensues is a relationship of fascination and obsession.
Riverside Studios, 4.45pm
IMAGINE Andrzej Jakimowski, 2012
Ian, a charismatic spatial-orientation specialist, starts work at a school for the blind. Blind himself, he encourages his students to walk without their canes using only sound and smell cues, however he finds his liberating methods provoke serious tensions with the school’s conservative director. Through his moving and magical poetic language Jakimowski once again tests the boundaries of our imaginations.
Riverside Studios, 6.30pm
TO KILL A BEAVER (ZABIC BOBRA) Jan Jakub Kolski, 2012
A paranoid former soldier returns to his semi-derelict house, awaiting instructions from mysterious employers. Passing the time target-practicing at the local beavers, his peace is broken by the ap- pearance of teenager Bezi, with whom he begins a torrid affair. Tormented by flashbacks to incidents in his past however, it becomes clear that he is not an entirely reliable narrator…
Followed by a Q&A with director Jan Jakub Kolski
Riverside Studios, 8.40pm
BABY BLUES (BEJBI BLUES) Katarzyna Rosłaniec, 2012
Katarzyna Rosłaniec follows her controversial debut Mall Girls with a frank look at teen pregnancy. 17-year-old Natalia, whose own young mother disappears early on, must struggle alone to raise 7-month-old Antek, with only occasional assistance from skater dad, Kuba. Despite their love for the baby, the teens’ short attention spans and egocentric interests in videogames, drugs and alcohol, are hardly compatible with child rearing.
Riverside Studios, 2.30pm
SUPERMARKET Maciej Zak, 2012
The Wareckis, an average married couple, stop at a store returning home on New Year’s Eve. The husband goes shopping, the wife stays in the car and waits for him, hours go by but he does not return, in fact, nobody can find him anywhere… A series of seemingly minor events transforms these simple characters’ lives into a gripping horror-thriller, a wild and disturbing image of the impact of consumerism.
Riverside Studios, 4.40pm
MANHUNT (OBLAWA) Marcin Krzyształowicz, 2012
In this grim but punchy WWII drama Marcin Dorociński plays a Polish partisan who acts as a merciless executioner of informants. He must carry out a death sentence on Kondolewicz (Maciej Stuhr), the owner of a local mill who reports to the Gestapo. The man turns out to be an old friend from before the war. Critically acclaimed and shot on a very small budget, the story was inspired by real events.
Riverside Studios, 6.30pm
ROSE (ROZA) Wojciech Smarzowski, 2011
Called by Variety “almost unbearably brutal yet hauntingly romantic”, Smarzowski’s story of love and struggle between war-widow Rose and former soldier Tadeusz relates to a largely unknown chapter of Polish history: the post-WWII persecution of the Mazurians, the indigenous residents of north-eastern Poland.
Riverside Studios, 8.30pm
F*CK FOR FOREST Michał Marczak, 2012
Berlin’s Fuck for Forest is one of the world’s most bizarre charities. Based on the idea that sex can save the world, the NGO raises money for their environmental cause by selling home-made erotic films on the internet. Meet Danny, a troubled soul, as he accidentally discovers this exuberant, neo-hippy world where sexual liberation merges with global altruism, and joins their already colourful operation. From the streets of Berlin to the depths of the Amazon, together they are on a planet-saving mission to buy a piece of forest and save the indigenous peoples from the sick, sick West. (The film will be released across the UK by Dogwoof Pictures on April 19th.)
Followed by a panel discussion with director Michał Marczak and the representatives of environmental organisations.
Curzon Soho, 6.15pm
ESCAPE FROM THE ‘LIBERTY’ CINEMA (UCIECZKA Z KINA ‘WOLNOŚĆ) Wojciech Marczewski, 1990
Marczewski’s fantasy comedy is set just before the collapse of Poland’s communist regime and stars Janusz Gajos as a tired and lonely provincial film censor. In a surreal twist, actors in a film start to protest against the mediocrity of the work and rebel by living their own lives within the film’s narrative, speaking to the viewer directly from the screen. Rich with allusions to Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo and Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, Marczewski’s film is an enthusiastic manifesto for freedom – of the artist, of art and of the human being.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Wojciech Marczewski.
Barbican Centre 3, 6.30pm
ACROSS REALITIES: THE FILMS OF WOJCIECH BRUSZEWSKI Wojciech Bruszewski, 1972-82
A retrospective of pioneering Polish film and video artist Wojciech Bruszewski (1947-2009), Across Realities, curated by Łukasz Mojsak of the Filmoteka Muzeum — part of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw — will examine Bruszewski’s ground-breaking moving image experiments in perception, Wojciech Bruszewski sadly passed away in 2009, leaving behind a fascinating body of work. Alongside his fellow ‘structural rebels’ active under the umbrella of the Workshop of the Film Form at the famous Film School in Łódź in the 1970s (including Józef Robakowski and Paweł Kwiek), Bruszewski’s investigations into various dimensions of reality and perception left an immense imprint on Polish experimental film in the decades to follow. A compact yet comprehensive presentation of the most important avenues of his moving image practice, the Tate’s Across Realities programme aims to bring the artist’s transcendental and all-embracing artistic approach closer to a London audience and bring about much deserved critical and institutional recognition of these important works.
Followed by a panel discussion about Bruszewski, his contemporaries and his exchange with British structural filmmakers.
Tate Modern, 7.00pm
ILLUMINATION (ILLUMINACJA) Krzysztof Zanussi, 1973
Illumination is defined in the film as the moment of enlightenment… but is the human mind capable of learning the truth? Under the banner of the cinema of moral anxiety, whose practitioners included Kieślowski and Wajda, Zanussi creates a visually complex, perceptive and compassionate examination of the essence of knowledge and truth. This film became a defining event for a whole generation in the Eastern block and went on to win the Golden Leopard, FIPRESCI Award, and Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 1973 Locarno Film Festival.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Krzysztof Zanussi.
Barbican Centre 2, 6.30pm
THE PAINTERLY ANIMATIONS OF WITOLD GIERSZ Witold Giersz, 1960 - 2013
One of the masters of Polish animation, Witold Giersz, will be presenting his acclaimed films and the UK premiere screening of his latest work, Signum, an animated cave painting using traditional materials, inspired by Palaeolithic art at Lascaux and Altamira. Best known for his painting on film technique, Giersz’s films are full of compassion and humour. They are also marked by their artistic quality: whether creating an animated oil painting or applying expressive strokes of colour directly onto the film stock, Giersz is clearly a master of his materials.
Followed by a Q&A with the director Witold Giersz chaired by journalist Alison Frank.
National Gallery, 1.00pm
IT LOOKS PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE (Z DALEKA WIDOK JEST PIEKNY) Anka & Wilhelm Sasnal, 2011
Unfolding in a secluded Polish village by the woods and a river, It Looks Pretty from a Distance is a love story between a scrapper and a girl. In an air of ubiquitous secrecy the villagers and the couple live their usual dull lives of hardship until the scrapper vanishes. His disappearance triggers a chain of unexpected events. In the strikingly beautiful surroundings, under the scorching sun, human evil surfaces.
The screening of It Looks Pretty from a Distance is part of the Institute of Contemporary Arts’ regular Artists’ Film Club series. Following the screening Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal will be in conversation with ICA Associate Curator of Artists’ Film and Moving Image, Steven Cairns.
CLOSING NIGHT: ANDY VOTEL PRESENTS KLEKSPLOITATION
Andy Votel presents: Kleksploitation, an homage to Pan Kleks, a Polish trilogy of films for children from the 1980s, loved by Poland’s children from that era. Votel draws on images, music and sound from the original films, selecting and subverting, to coax their darker side to the surface and create something wholly original, unsettling and — at times — weirdly humorous.
The Pan Kleks trilogy was scored by Andrzej Korzyński, a Warsaw composer whose unearthed catalogue Votel is currently releasing on his Finders Keepers label, including music written for Andrzej Żuławski’s incredible Possession. Andrzej Korzyński was the precursor of electronic music in Poland in the 70′s and his use of first synthesisers will be the musical background and inspiration for the show. The images, in turn, will take you on a nostalgic journey to the magical and psychedelic reality of the 80′s Poland’s children film trilogy Pan Kleks.
Kleksploitation was commissioned by Unsound 2012, the acclaimed Kraków festival of innovative music, a co-presenter of this special London performance. It also announces the first edition of Unsound in London, which will take place later in 2013.
Barbican Cinema Centre 1, 7.30pm