In the history of cinema, Poland is generally regarded as somewhat of a non-entity. Despite a diverse proliferation of what could be termed ‘auteur’ directors – the same few names inevitably crop up: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Skolimowski. Other filmmakers that just about sneak into the knowledge sphere of only the most hardcore ‘cineliterate’ are Wojciech Has, Krzysztof Zanussi and Jerzy Kawalerowicz. Movements such as ‘The Polish School’ and ‘The Cinema of Moral Concern,’ encompassing many of the above names, have similarly overshadowed most Western understanding of Poland’s film culture.
I was initially drawn to the world of Polish cinema through a love of Film Noir; my proposed investigation into ‘The Film Noir Aesthetic in Central European Cinema’ lead me straight to Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds (1959). After a little more delving I realised that what I knew – or what I thought I knew – of Polish cinema was only the tip of the iceberg. I was immediately hooked. My dissertation became focussed entirely on Polish Cinema under communist rule, and initiated a passion that has continued right up to the present day.
The programme, designed to illustrate the diversity of Polish cinema in what is widely considered its ‘golden age,’ will consist of three films; each hailing from a different era, each representing a different strand of the Polish cinematic tendency and each complementing the next, to offer what we hope will be a day of film that is at once entertaining, revelatory and profound.
As well as the films themselves, there will be a talk from Michael Goddard, the reviews editor and co-founder of the journal Studies in Eastern European Cinema. He will be offering us a fascinating insight into the ‘main event’ of the day.
– Adam Ryan (Minicine-Polski Film Programmer)
See the main event, plus powerhouse middle card below. The opening film will be announced soon. We’ve left a brief synopsis for each, but check back here next week to hear why Cine-Polskie’s programmer Adam Ryan has specifically selected these films.
The Saragossa Manuscript (Wojciech Has, 1965)
This is the main event of the day, and will be introduced by Polish film specialist Michael Goddard, review editor of the journal, Studies in Eastern European Cinema. Michael is also currently co-editing a book titled Beyond the Border: Polish Cinema in a Transnational Context.
A young army captain during the Napolionic wars discovers a manuscript, and subsequently undergoes a series of challenging missions to prove himself in this surreal and beautiful take on the historical epic.
A few snippets from reviews should give an inclination of the tone, and have you a little intrigued.
“this rambling, flamboyant and incoherent ‘head movie’ should be approached with caution by anyone who hasn’t got any drugs in their system” David Jenkins (Time Out London)
“a film so cosmically all-encompassing, so utterly confounding, so mystical and mental, that it could induce a trip-like state in even the most sober-minded of cinemagoer” Anton Bitel (Eye For Film)
Add to this, that it is a favourite of Luis Bunuel’s and David Lynch had this to say about it: “Simulateously horrific, erotic and funny … this is one mother of a film”
This will be a wonderfully intense and memorable finale to the day!
Night Train (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959)
In this Hitchcockian thriller, two mysterious train passengers (a man and a woman), unknown to each other, share a train cabin. Both characters are hiding somehing, and both seem to be running from something. After being introduced to these characters we see that the police are aboard, searching for a murderer.
To hear why Alexei Sayle loves Polish cinema (including Night Train), see his post on the Guardian from last week
Special thanks to Second Run DVD for arranging this screening.
Our first film of the day will be announced very soon.
Amidst the festivities, home made Polish food will be served and the Polish Parish Club has a fully licensed bar.
A full day pass is only £10.00 full price and £8.00 for concessions. These can be purchased right now, by going to our secure online box office. Tickets for individual films will opened closer to the screening date, and will cost £5.00.
Members can buy a day pass for £5 and can do so immediately, just e-mail us to let us know you’ll be coming. If you’re interested in becoming a member, and want to check out full details of what other benefits you would receive, see the membership page, or you can buy membership straight away, for only £15 by clicking here. Any questions at all about membership, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, to ensure you receive the most up to date information on this event, follow us on Twitter ,’like’ the Facebook page or e-mail email@example.com with the subject title: MAILING LIST and you will be added to our mailing list.
Hope to see you there!
– Mike McKenny, Minicine Director
The Polish Parish Club is situated only five minutes walk from the centre of Bradford. Full address: 19-23 Edmund Street, Bradford BD5 0BH. You can see details on the venue at their website.