Washington > Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

From: Marcin Z.
Sent on: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 7:04 PM
At the National Gallery of Art . . ..
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Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema
April 13-June 8
A twenty-one-film retrospective of the modern cinema of Poland from 1956 through 1989 — a historic era of great aesthetic originality marked by a loosening of ideological constraints (the first such flowering to occur in postwar Eastern Europe) — is presented in Washington jointly by the American Film Institute and the National Gallery of Art. Martin Scorsese served as curator for the project. Each film in the program has been digitally remastered and newly subtitled. Films by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Aleksander Ford, Andrzej Munk, Tadeusz Konwicki, and Krzysztof Kieślowski are screened at the Gallery, while works by Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, and Wojciech Has appear at the AFI. Organized by The Film Foundation, Milestone Film, Di-Factory, Jędrzej Sabliński, Jacek Sosnowski, and Maciej Molewski. With special thanks to the Embassy of Poland.
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courtesy Milestone Film and Video

	* Night Train (Baltic Express) followed by The Last Day of Summer
April 13 at 4:00
East Building Auditorium

On a late train bound for a holiday resort, an eclectic group of travelers gets entangled in a strange intrigue amid rumors of a runaway murderer on board. In the late 1950s, Night Train’s innovative look, lean narrative, and emotional tension made a huge impression on critics hungry for a new art cinema. “A breathtaking spectacle filled with meanings . . . . Kawalerowicz placed himself among the great directors of Europe” — The Modern Cinema of Poland. (Pociag, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959, DCP, 96 minutes)

On an afternoon along an idyllic stretch of Baltic shoreline, two lonely figures (Irena Laskowska and Jan Machulski) have an odd encounter. Haunted by unhappy memories, each gradually tries a tenuous gesture to reach out to the other, never quite succeeding. The Last Day of Summermirrors in microcosm the struggle between man and woman, past and present. (Tadeusz Konwicki, 1958, DCP, subtitles, 60 minutes)

	* Mother Joan of the Angels
April 20 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

From the same seventeenth-century demonic possession case as Aldous Huxley’s Devils of Loudun and Ken Russell’s The Devils, Mother Joan of the Angels is a stunning portrayal of hysteria, lust, and oppression, culminating in a painful crisis of faith for virtuous Father Suryn as he inspects an Ursuline convent — possibly to exorcise Mother Joan, the appealing abbess. (Jerzy Kawalerowicz and Tadeusz Konwicki, 1961, DCP, subtitles, 110 minutes)
	* Salto (Jump)
April 20 at 4:30
East Building Auditorium

Anxious passenger Zbigniew Cybulski bolts from a moving train, momentarily staggers, but reaches a small village where he poses as a former resident, now on the run from pursuers. His enigmatic presence there weaves a hypnotic spell. Novelist director Konwicki’s graceful black-and-white imagery, bold mise-en-scène, and haunting musical score create a kind of surrealistic poetry. One of the true artistic revelations of the series, Salto “once again unites the Magician and the Mad in one person” — Yvette Biro. (Tadeusz Konwicki, 1965, DCP, subtitles, 105 minutes)
	* Eroica
April 26 at 12:30
East Building Auditorium

A “heroic symphony in two acts,” Eroica is a piquant satire on the theme of personal courage, whose director Andrzej Munk (1921 – 1961) became a leading artist of the post-Stalinist period. Part one, Scherzo alla polacca, takes place during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and the second act, Ostinato lugubre, is set in a POW camp. “The aesthetic mix may be startling . . . but what gives coherence is not so much the style as the outlook. Eroica was among the outstanding cultural events following October 1956” — The Modern Cinema of Poland. (Andrzej Munk, 1957, DCP, subtitles, 90 minutes)

	* Austeria
May 11 at 4:00
East Building Auditorium

At a roadside inn (austeria) in Galicia, a group of Jews barricades against an invading army of Cossacks. As the group is joined by a Hungarian hussar, an Austrian baroness, and sundry Ukrainians and Poles, Austeria beco­mes a sort of Eastern European Grand Hotel under the threat of war. “During their long night the inn comes alive with romance, religious ecstasy, and personal grief . . . . The missing world of the Polish Jews, this quite original community, has waited for a long time to be commemorated on screen” — Jerzy Kawalerowicz. (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1982, subtitles, DCP, 107 minutes)
	* Pharaoh
May 18 at 4:00
East Building Auditorium

Based on Bolesław Prus’ celebrated 1897 historical-political­ novel and partly filmed on location near Luxor and Giza, Kawalerowicz’s sweeping widescreen dramatization of ancient Egyptian intrigue mixes archeologically precise reproduction with a riveting narrative of raw power politics. Fictional pharaoh Ramsès XIII’s vain attempts at reform are at odds with the interests of the priestly caste.Pharaoh (Farao­n) was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film. (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1966, DCP, subtitles, 152 minutes)
	* A Short Film about Killing
May 25 at 4:30
East Building Auditorium

Krzysztof Kieślowski’s epic miniseries The Decalogue — contemporary stories based on the Ten Commandments played out in a Warsaw apartment block — was a landmark innovation in late 1980s European television. A Short Film About Killing (from Decalo­gue V) tragically mixes the destinies of two odd and unsettling characters who wander the streets of Warsaw. The grim narrative is, in the end, an intelligent meditation on both the act of murder and the ordeal of capital punishment. (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1988, DCP, subtitles, 84 minutes)

	* Black Cross (Knights of the Teutonic Order)
May 31 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

With the Polish – Lithuanian – Teutonic War as framework, a knight sets out in 1410 on aSearchers-like quest to rescue his kidnapped beloved, as back-stabbings and hangings proliferate along the borderlands, until the time comes for the Poles and their allies to take on the Knights of the Teutonic Order in the climactic actual Battle of Grunwald. Adapted from a turn-of the-century epic novel by Nobel laureate Henryk Sienkiewicz (Quo Vadis), Black Cross (Krzyżacy) became the biggest box-office success in Polish film history. (Aleksander Ford, 1960, DCP, subtitles, 173 minutes)
	* Blind Chance
June 8 at 4:30
East Building Auditorium

“A fascinating precursor to [Krzysztof Kieślowski’s] Three Colors trilogy and a biting condemnation of the complex choices (or lack thereof) of individuals in a totalitarian regime, Blind Chance was made near the beginning of the Solidarity period but banned after the declaration of martial law. A trilogy of stories following three possible life paths for its main character, in the first he becomes a Party member, in the second he joins a dissident movement, and in the third he decides ‘not to be involved in either.’ Highlighting the interconnected nature of fate, secondary characters from one segment turn up in another, while the ending unites them in a final tragedy” — Jason Sanders. (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1981/1987, DCP, subtitles, 120 minutes)

SOURCE: http://www.nga.go...­

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