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CINEMA OF POLAND (wikipedia) .
The Double Life of Veronique (Kieslowski)- part French,
A Short Film about Love (Kieslowski),
The Last Day of Summer (Konwicki).
The Saragossa Manuscript (Has),
Third Part of the Night (Zulawski),
Night Train (Kawalerowicz),
Astronauts (Borowczyk, Lenica),
The Musicians (Karabasz),
Krystyna M (Karabasz),
Dekalog 4 (Kieslowski)
Walerian Borowczyk .
Born in Kwilcz, September 2, 1923, Walerian Borowczyk studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, then devoted himself to painting and lithography, including the creation of posters for the cinema, which earned him a national prize in 1953. In 1959, he settled in Paris.
His early films were surreal animations, some only a few seconds long, including several comic abecedaria. His most acclaimed early films were Był sobie raz (Time Upon a Once) (1957) and Dom (House) (1958, with Jan Lenica). In 1959, he worked with Chris Marker for Les Astronautes. Major works of this period include the stop motion film Renaissance (1963), which uses reverse motion to depict various destroyed objects (a prayer book, a stuffed toy, etc.) re-assembling themselves, only to be destroyed again when the last object (a bomb) is complete, and the nightmarish Jeux des anges (1964), selected by Terry Gilliam as one of the ten best animated films of all time. In 1967, he directed his first animated feature film, Théâtre de Monsieur & Madame Kabal: un film dessiné pour les adultes (Mr. and Mrs. Kabal’s Theatre).
Borowczyk moved into live-action feature film with Goto, l’île d’amour (Goto, Isle of Love) (1968) and Blanche (1971), both tales of illicit love thwarted by jealous husbands, and both starring his own wife, Ligia Branice. One of his most appreciated films of this period, Dzieje grzechu (A Story of Sin) (1975), which was nominated for Palme d’or, is an adaptation of a Polish literary classic by Stefan Żeromski. Like his 1966 short film Rosalie (a Guy de Maupassant adaptation and a Silver Bear winner), Dzieje grzechu had successfully rendered the themes of seduction and infanticide. Contes immoraux (Immoral Tales) (1974) and his later work, including Interno di un convento (Behind Convent Walls) (1977) (inspired by Promenades dans Rome of Stendhal) and Cérémonie d’amour (Rites of Love) (1988) have been controversial, lauded by some for their unique surrealist vision and derided by others as contentless pornography. Especially, La bête (The Beast) (based on the novel Lokis by Prosper Mérimée and originally conceived in 1972 as a film on its own, but then in 1974 as the fifth story in Contes immoraux) was seen by many as a decline in the director’s career after Dzieje grzechu, except in France, where it was hailed by prominent critics such as Ado Kyrou. His 1980 film Lulu was based on the eponymous character created by Frank Wedekind.
In 1981, he made Docteur Jekyll et les femmes (Blood of Dr Jekyll), a version of the Jekyll and Hyde story starring Udo Kier and Patrick Magee and depicting Jekyll’s transformation as a violent rebellion against the Victorian morality. In his 1988 book Nightmare Movies, Kim Newman described the film as “dark, misanthropic and interestingly offensive”. He made a brief return to animation with his 1984 short film Scherzo infernal. In 1987, he directed Emmanuelle 5, an installment of the Emmanuelle series, that was also released in a hardcore video-only version. He was unhappy with the project due to a dispute concerning the casting of lead actress Monique Gabrielle. In 1988 and 1990, he directed four episodes for the series Série rose: Les Chefs d’œuvre de la littérature érotique on M6.
Many of Borowczyk’s films use historical settings, including Ars Amandi: l’arte di amare (The Art of Love) (1983), set in the time of Ovid (and featuring the poet as a character); Blanche, set during the Middle Ages; and three of the four episodes in Contes immoraux, set respectively in the nineteenth century, the sixteenth century, and the Borgia papacy.
A number of his films (like the “tale” La Marée (The Tide) in Contes immoraux, the 1976 La Marge (The Streetwalker), the episode Marceline in Les Héroïnes du mal: Margherita, Marceline, Marie (Immoral Women) (1979), and Cérémonie d’amour were based on stories by André Pieyre de Mandiargues. A less usual product of this cooperation was Une collection particulière of 1973, a representation of Borowczyk’s collection of pornographic items, with Mandiargues having written (and read) the narration.
Borowczyk was the author of two books: Anatomia diabła (Anatomy of Devil) (1992) and Moje polskie lata (My Polish Years) (2002).
He died of heart failure in Paris in 2006. —Wikipedia
A major figure in the world of post-World War II Eastern European cinema, Polish director Andrzej Wajda (born 6 March 1926) has chronicled his country’s political and social evolution with sensitivity, fervor, and a refusal to make compromises in dealing with his difficult subjects. The son of a Polish cavalry officer who was killed early in World War II, Wajda fought in the Resistance movement against the Nazis when he was still a teenager. After the war, he studied to be a painter before entering the Lodz film school. On the heels of his apprenticeship to director Aleksander Ford, Wajda was given the opportunity to direct a film on his own. With A Generation (1955), the first-time director poured out all his bitterness and disillusionment regarding blind patriotism and wartime heroics, using as his alter ego a young, James Dean-style antihero played by Zbigniew Cybulski. The Wajda/Cybulski team went on to make two more films of escalating brilliance, which further developed the antiwar theme of A Generation: Kanal (1956) and Ashes and Diamonds (1958). While perfectly capable of turning out mainstream commercial pictures (often dismissed as “trivial” by his critics), Wajda was more interested in works of allegory and symbolism, with certain symbolic devices (such as setting fire to a glass of liquor, representing the flame of youthful idealism that was extinguished by the war) popping up repeatedly in his films.
In 1967, Cybulski was killed in an auto accident, whereupon the director articulated his grief with what is considered his most personal film, Everything for Sale (1969). Wajda’s later devotion to Poland’s burgeoning Solidarity movement was manifested in Man of Marble (1976) and Man of Iron (1981), with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa appearing as himself in the latter film. The director’s involvement in this movement would prompt the Polish government to force Wajda’s production company out of business. After several years’ exile in France, Wajda returned to his politically liberated homeland in 1989. In the early ‘90s, he was elected a senator and also appointed artistic director of Warsaw’s Teatr Powschensky. He continued to make films, addressing the topic of World War II in 1993’s Pierscionek Z Orlem W Koronie and 1996’s Wielki Tydzien. In 1997, the director went in a different direction with Panna Nikt, a coming-of-age drama that explored the darker and more spiritual aspects of a relationship between two high-school girls. Three years later, at the 2000 Oscar ceremony, Wajda was presented with an honorary Oscar for his numerous contributions to the cinema; he subsequently donated the award to Krakow’s Jagiellonaian University. His 2007 film Katyn dealt with the infamous massacre of Poles by the Soviets during World War II
Andrzej Zulawski was born on the 22nd November 1940 on the territory of what was then the U.S.S.R. in a Polish family with remarkable traditions in arts and literature. After World War II, his father’s diplomatic career brought the family to France (1945-1949), Czechoslovakia (1949-1952), and finally to Poland. He studied film direction at IDHEC in Paris (1957-1959) and philosophy at both Warsaw University (1961) and Université de Paris (1962-1964).
First, he assisted the famous Polish director Andrzej Wajda during the filming of Samson (1961), Popioly (1966), and the Warsaw episode of L’Amour à Vingt Ans (1962). In 1967, Zulawski directed two short films, Piesn Triumfujacej Milosci and Pavoncello, for Polish TV.
His feature debut, Trzecia Czesc Nocy (1971), as well as those previous films were co-scripted by his father, poet Miroslaw Zulawski. The picture was well received at the Venice Film Festival and awarded as the Best Debut in its homeland, but had only limited release due to Polish censorship. Zulawski’s next feature, Diabel (1972), was outright banned and not released until 1988. The same happened to his next Polish project, Na Srebrnym Globie (1977). After he finished about 80 percent of the shooting, the authorities ordered him to abandon the picture and to destroy all related materials. Only in 1987 did he manage to complete the film from spare footage, using voice-over commentary for the missing parts. Since the late ‘70s, Zulawski has lived and worked mostly in France, during which time he developed a knack for showcasing his actresses’ talents. L’Important C’est D’Aimer (1975) brought its star, Romy Schneider, a Cesar (French Oscar) as did Possession (1981) to Isabelle Adjani. He then found his muse in young actress Sophie Marceau who would star in four of his films. He briefly returned to Poland where he made Szamanka (1996). Being a maverick who always defied mainstream commercialism, Zulawski enjoyed success mostly with the European art-house audiences. His wild, imaginative, and controversial pictures have received 16 awards at various international film festivals. He also wrote the novels Il était Un Verger, Lity Bór (a.k.a: La Forêt Forteresse), V Oczach Tygrysa, and Ogród Milosci. —allmovie guide
A towering figure of Eastern European cinema, Krzysztof Kieslowski was born in Warsaw, Poland, on June 27, 1941. His formative years, spent under the specters of Hitler and Stalin, were nomadic; his father suffered from tuberculosis, and the family traveled from one sanatorium to another. At the age of 16, Kieslowski entered Fireman’s Training College. His stay was short-lived, instilling a lifelong loathing of uniforms and disciplines. To avoid military service he returned to school, later attending the Warsaw College for Theatre Technicians. In 1965, after several previous rejections, he was finally accepted into the famed Lodz Film School — the same institution which launched the careers of Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wadja, Jerzy Skolimowski, and Krzysztof Zanussi — and made his first short feature, Tramwaj (The Tram), the following year.
The communist-controlled Poland of the 1960s and 1970s was a nation of great political unrest. Consequently, film emerged as a crucial means of communication as well as a kind of social conscience, carefully and implicitly (to avoid the wrath of government censors) depicting a way of life denied by Party dominance. At the time, documentaries were considered as artistically important and commercially viable as features. With 1966’s Urzad (The Office), Kieslowski first turned to the documentary format, satirizing bureaucratic policy via a state-owned insurance office. After briefly returning to fictional narratives with the 1967 short Koncert Zyczen (Concert of Requests), he helmed 1968’s Zdjecie (The Photograph), a 32-minute documentary produced for Polish television.
Upon graduating in 1969, Kieslowski’s focus turned exclusively to documentary filmmaking beginning with Z Miasta Lodzi (From the City of Lodz). His early professional work consisted of a series of one-act films designed to be shown in theaters as supporting material along with features. Among Kieslowski’s documentaries of the early ‘70s were Bylem Zolnierzem (I Was a Soldier), Fabryka (Factory), Przed Rajdem (Before the Rally)’ and Refren (Refrain). In 1972 he released a pair of films commissioned by the Lubin Copper Mine, Miedzy Wroclawiem a Zielona Gora (Between Wroclaw and Zielona Gora) and Podstawy BHP w Koplani Miedzi (The Principles of Safety and Hygiene in a Copper Mine). Robotnicy ‘71: Nic o Nas Bez Nas (Workers ’71: Nothing About Us Without Us), an account of the December 1970 strike which helped lead to the downfall of First Secretary of the Communist Polish United Workers’ Party Wladyslaw Gomulka soon followed.
After the 1973 documentary Murarz (Bricklayer), Kieslowski made his first television drama, Przejscie Podziemne (Pedestrian Subway). Upon completing a pair of 1974 documentaries, Przeswietlenie (X-Ray) and Pierwsza Milosc (First Love), he helmed 1975’s Zyciorys (Curriculum vitae), a “dramatic documentary” depicting the cross-examination of a Communist Party member threatened with expulsion. While his story was fictional, the Party Control Committee deciding his fate was real. The project was the subject of considerable controversy and criticism, and many Poles charged that Kieslowski had flirted with the Party in making the film. Throughout the remainder of his career, public consensus on the director remained split in his native land — many greatly admired his work, while others considered him an opportunist, as well as a traitor to himself and his country.
Despite his high level of visibility at home, Kieslowski remained unknown throughout the rest of the world. He did not make his first feature-length TV drama until 1975, debuting with Personel. After a pair of 1976 documentaries, Szpital (Hospital) and Klaps (Slate), he made his theatrical feature bow that same year with Blizna (The Scar). The TV drama Spokoj (The Calm) followed in quick succession, with three more documentaries — Z Punktu Widzenia Nocnego Portiera (From a Night Porter’s Point of View), Nie Wiem (I Don’t Know), and Siedem Kobiet w Roznym Wieku (Seven Women of Different Ages) — appearing over the next two years. Finally, the 1979 feature Amator (Camera Buff) launched Kieslowski to the forefront of the international cinema community. A satire about a factory worker (Jerzy Stuhr, who with Kieslowski co-wrote the screenplay) who becomes obsessed with his new eight millimeter camera to the point of jeopardizing his marriage and job, the movie won the Grand Prix at the Moscow Film Festival, garnering global recognition for its director.
With the dawn of the 1980s came a period of Polish upheaval. In August 1980, the year Kieslowski released the documentaries Dworzec (Station) and Gadajace Glowy (Talking Heads), the free trade union dubbed Solidarity was born. A period of societal freedom followed, and Kieslowski mounted a pair of 1981 features, Przypadek (Blind Chance) and Krotki Dzien Pracy (Short Working Day), both openly critical of communist control. However, in December 1981, martial law was declared throughout Poland, effectively bringing the nation’s film industry to its knees: Film stock was in short supply, and equipment — previously supplied by state-financed production houses — was no longer made available. Under such impossible conditions, Kieslowski attempted to undertake several projects, with little success. Even after martial law was suspended in 1982, the country’s financial outlook was grim, and apart from the 1984 feature Bez Konca (No End), he did not work again for many years.
Finally, in 1988, Kieslowski was given the green light to begin filming The Decalogue, a ten-part miniseries commissioned for Polish television. Even as he turned more and more toward drama, Kieslowski insisted that his work remained true to the principles of documentary filmmaking, his movies evolving less through action than ideas. Nowhere was this more apparent than in The Decalogue, a decidedly apolitical series, based on the Ten Commandments, exploring the lives of a group of tenants in a Warsaw housing estate. The ambitious project was a success with both viewers and critics, and two of the episodes (A Short Film About Love and A Short Film About Killing, respectively) were eventually extended into feature-length pictures and distributed internationally. The latter won a Jury prize at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, as well as Europe’s coveted Felix Award.
With the fall of communism throughout Eastern Europe, Solidarity was reinstated in 1989, and Poland became a free nation for the first time since the end of World War II. In the face of continued financial troubles, however, Kieslowski relocated to France, where he completed 1991’s masterful The Double Life of Veronique, another global success. In 1993, he mounted the “Three Colors” trilogy, a triptych based on the colors of the French flag and their symbolic representations; the first film, Blue, a meditation on liberty, won several Cesar Awards (France’s equivalent of the Oscars), and also netted a handful of Golden Globe nominations, including a Best Actress nomination for star Juliette Binoche; White, an essay on equality which garnered Kieslowski the Silver Bear Award for direction at the Berlin International Film Festival, followed later that same year.
However, it was the final film in the trilogy, 1994’s Red, which brought Kieslowski his greatest acclaim. An exploration of fraternity featuring Double Life of Veronique star Irene Jacob, it was a tremendous commercial and critical favorite, collecting nominations from the Cesars and Golden Globes. Kieslowski even earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. At the peak of his powers, the filmmaker chose to walk away from the limelight, and upon the completion of Red, he announced his retirement from movies. Reportedly, he was considering a return to the cinema with a new trilogy based around the themes of heaven, hell, and purgatory when, on March 13, 1996, he entered the hospital to undergo open-heart surgery. Tragically, Kieslowski suffered a heart attack while on the operating table and died. He was 54 years old.
Wojciech Jerzy Has
Wojciech Jerzy Has was born in Kraków, with Jewish origin on his father’s side, and Roman Catholic on his mother’s. Has himself was agnostic.1 The name Has is the Hollandic, Yiddish and Germanised Jewish surname Haas (האָז), meaning hare in English.
During the wartime German occupation of Poland, Has studied at the Kraków Business and Commerce College and later clandestine underground classes at the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts – until it was disbanded in 1943. When the war ended, he went on to study at the reconstituted Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. In 1946, Has completed a one-year course in film and began producing educational and documentary films at the Warsaw Documentary Film Studio, and in the 1950s moved on to work at Poland’s premier filmmaking academy, the National Film Studio, in Łódź.
Has made his debut with Harmony (Harmonia, 1948), a medium-length feature, and began making full-length feature films in 1957. In 1974, he was appointed as professor in the directing department at the National Film School in Łódź. Throughout his long and prolific career, he directed such notable films as The Saragossa Manuscript, The Doll and The Hour-Glass Sanatorium (also known as The Sandglass).
Early on in his career, Has gained a reputation as an individualist who avoided political overtones in his art. He produced his most important films throughout the period when the Polish Film School was at its most prominent; however, his work possessed its own stylistic feeling that was independent of the over policial themes that dominated the prevailing Polish School. In practically every film, Has sought to create hermetic environments, in which the problems and storylines of his protagonists were always of secondary importance to the particular world he had created, characterized by an accumulation of random objects that formed unique visual universe.
“If Wojciech Has had become a painter, he would surely have been a Surrealist,” wrote the Polish critic Aleksander Jackiewicz. “He would have redrawn antique objects with all their real accoutrements and juxtaposed them in unexpected ways.”
Has’s oeuvre is commonly associated with Surrealist painting in Polish criticism. This is reinforced by the director’s dream poetic and his use of objects, which are also characteristic of many canvasses by the Surrealists. Has also created a number of intimate psychological dramas during his career, such as How to Be Loved and Farewells, focusing on damaged individuals who have difficulty settling into life. In his work, he was fascinated by outsiders and people incapable of finding their place in reality.
Two currents remain evident in Has’s output: one was his cinema of psychological analysis, the other his films of visionary form, in which he most often used the motif of a journey.
From 1987 to 1989, Has was artistic director of the Rondo Film Studio and a member of the Polish State Cinema Committee. In 1989-1990, he served as dean of the directing department at the National Film School. In 1990, he became the school’s provost and remained in this position for six years. He was the managing director and chief advisor at the school-affiliated Indeks Studio. (Wikipedia)
Films not on mubi:
Córka generala Pankratowa (Znamierowski)
The Scratch (Rosa)
Before Twilight (Blawut)
Notable films by Poles elsewhere:
The Cameraman’s Revenge (Starewicz)
Tale of the Fox (Starewicz)
The Mascot (Starewicz)
Double Indemnity (Wilder)
Sunset Boulevard (Wilder)
Ace in the Hole (Wilder)
Some Like it Hot (Wilder)
The Apartment (Wilder)
Le Départ (Skolimowski)
Goto Isle of Love (Borowczyk)
Rosemary’s Baby (Polanski)
Deep End (Skolimowski)
The Tenant (Polanski)
Three Colours Blue (Kieslowski)
Three Colours Red (Kieslowski)
The Secret Garden (Holland)
The Pianist (Polanski)
Nothing Personal (Antoniak)
The Ghost Writer (Polanski)
though of Austrian nationality, Billy Wilder was born in what is now Polish Galizia. Polanski however was born in Paris.
Set in Poland:
The Chess Player (Bernard)
To Be or Not to Be (Lubitsch)
Schindler’s List (Spielberg)
The Innocents (Fontaine)