The Parade (1987)

Direction: Jerzy Kucia
Duration: 14 minutes 20 seconds
Genres: animation, short
Country: Poland

“The Parade” (1986) is definitely the brightest film that Jerzy Kucia ever made. The light tonality is already visible in “The Spring” (1980), realised six years earlier, a romantic impression about time, in which everything comes to life. This time Kucia dedicated his impression to an even more joyful time of harvest. He made it in a collage manner similar to his film “Splinters” (1984) from two years earlier. The logic of the precedence of events is substituted by a logic of memory, but the editing is more calm – it is no longer so nervous, but even dignified, its character adjusted to the style and content of the story. Kucia made the harvest parade animation in a “parade” way. Ewa Gołogórska, the co-scriptwriter (as in most of his films), privately his wife, helped him achieve this, as did Józef Rychlik, the composer of the beautiful musical motive with a poetics and atmosphere that reminds us of the very best of Nino Rota. The soundtrack in this film is perfectly built – joyful, parade music, natural sounds (e.g. the sounds of nature and of machines), as well as short elements of silence which greatly co-play with the unrealistic, hallucinatory images (mobile graphics madewith a laser copy method), giving a poetic film of rare beauty.

 

Chick (2008)

Direction: Michał Socha
Duration: 5 minutes
Genres: animation, short
Country: Poland

"Chick" is a humorous true-life story about male-female relations. Infatuation and its consequences are depicted in a ironic way: meeting a guy, dancing, having fun, a sexual act.

 

Mail girls (2009)

Direction: Katarzyna Rosłaniec
Duration: 1 hour 17 minutes
Genres: drama
Country: Poland

Stars: Anna Karczmarczyk, Dagmara Krasowska, Dominika Gwit, Magdalena Ciurzyńska, Iza Kuna, Artur Barciś, Ewa Kolasińska ,Izabela Dąbrowska, Franciszek Przybylski, Dominika Kluźniak

A film that shows teenage aspirations and struggles; and parents' helplessness who find it hard to keep pace with social, economic and behavioural change. The story of a group of schoolgirls from one of Warsaw's middle schools. Alicja has changed school in the mid-year and struggles in the new environment. Although she is covertly admired for her educational achievement, her poor material status turns her into an object of mockery. Milena, the class leader, suggests that Alicja and herself go together to a nearby shopping mall. There Alicja learns that the elegant clothes and luxurious gadgets with which Milena's group impresses their schoolmates are paid for by sponsors found in the mall - in return for sex. Alicja suspects that her modestly earning father and bored, non-working mother will not buy her a new mobile phone. However, to join the group of Mall Girls she has to deal with a few obstacles: she needs to overcome the fear of an unwanted pregnancy and lose virginity which the sponsors find unwelcome. A convincing portrait of adolescence made by a predominantly young crew. A film with penetrating behavioural observations and strong acting from young amateur actors. The film's particular strength is the subtlety with which it shows how teenage girls and boys discover their sexuality and what are the potentially dramatic consequences of insensitivity with which this issue is commonly approached.

 

Splinters (1984)

Direction: Jerzy Kucia
Duration: 9 minutes 38 seconds
Genres: animation, short
Country: Poland

A blinding study of human loneliness and the pain of passing away. In the mind of a woman who is doing her daily chores memories of old times come back. The present mixes with the past, reality mixes with imagination. Consistent elements of Kucia’s earlier films appear: drops of water, flying insects, a train passing, circular reflections on water… Everything is filmed in a dark, flickering tone, a nervous editing. One can hear shreds of music mixing with everyday sounds. „Splinters” (1984) remind us of – as Iwona Grodź accurately noticed in her work “The phenomenon of the fourth dimension in Jerzy Kucia’s work” – “broken and re-built glass”. And adds: “In this film, as in many others, the poetics of minimalism and impressionism are typical, as is the modest form, which generates an increase of film expression”. “Splinters” is therefore an incredibly expressive, poetic impression about the passing of time, growing old, “renewing” one’s existence by returning to past events.

 

In Darkness (2011)

Direction: Agnieszka Holland
Duration: 2 hours 25 minutes
Genres: drama
Country: Poland, Canada, Germany

Stars: Robert Więckiewicz, Agnieszka Grochowska, Julia Kijowska, Kinga Preis

W ciemności (In Darkness) is a Polish-German-Canadian co-production that follows Leopold Socha, a Polish man who changed from a criminal into a hero during the Second World War. He decided to help a group of Jews from the Lvov ghetto who were hiding in the sewers. Putting his own life and the lives of his family members at risk, he saves a dozen of men, women and children from the Holocaust. With his help, they spent almost 14 months in hiding underground. In 2011, In Darkness was the Polish candidate for the Academy Awards® and received a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Reflexes (1979)

Direction: Jerzy Kucia
Genres: animation, short
Country: Poland

“Reflexes” (1979), Kucia’s sixth film realised in AFS, in beyond doubt one of his best and most perfectly made films in polish history of animation. This was also noticed by juries, who award him with many awards. He makes films with no action in the traditional sense of the word, a philosophical reflective cinema which explores areas previously not penetrated by animation – a world of the inner experiences of the human kind. Although universal and timeless in its purport, the story has a clear plot constructed in accordance with the cause and effect logic. In his films, apart from the outstanding visuals (in “Reflexes” a perfection in animation drawings is noticeable) a lot of attention is given to the soundtrack. Music, murmurs, shredded words, dramatic moments of silence make the soundtrack fully integrated with the visual elements and often enlarges it with so-called “off the frame” space. “Reflexes” are a good example of this. We observe a murderous battle of two insects, which end tragically with the interference of a human. We can hear joyful music and the sounds of people having fun at a party, and all of this mixes with the sounds of the battle.

 

Black Thursday. Janek Wiśniewski fell (2011)

Direction: Antoni Krauze
Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
Genres: drama
Country: Poland

Stars: Marta Honzatko, Michał Kowalski, Marta Kalmus, Cezary Rybiński

The film has been in the making for over 40 years - as a proper commemoration of the tragedy which shook Poland in late 1970 and caused a large crack in the institution of the communist government Antoni Krauze's film feels like a documentary, with black-and-white, simple images tell the story of what happened in those emotional days. The story follows the Drywa family. The year 1970 was supposed to be a breakthrough for them, after years of trying to make ends meet: they moved to Gdynia, to a co-operative housing. On December 12, 1970, just two weeks before Christmas, party and state authorities decided to raise food prices, which they announced the next day, on Sunday. On Monday, December 14, Gdańsk shipyard workers refused to go to work. On Tuesday, the shipyard announced a general strike, the workers took to the streets, where protesters set fire to the Provincial Committee Communist Party building in Gdańsk. The Tri-city announced a curfew. On Wednesday, the strike spread to other production facilities in the north of the country. In radio and television speeches, Deputy Prime Minister Stanisław Kociołek called for the strikers to return to work. On the morning of Thursday, December 16, the staff of the Gdynia Shipyard were heading to work after a request by the Deputy Prime Minister, when Military Police and Army troops opened fire - killing several and wounding hundreds. Shipyard employees and other workers formed a procession carrying the corpse of one young protester - whom they named Janek Wiśniewski - on a wooden door. They walked towards the building of the Presidium of the Urban National Council, where they were once again shot at by the Police and the army - equipped with tanks and heavy weaponry. During the incidents, 45 people were killed, including 18 in Gdynia, and over 1,600 were wounded. The Military Police detained over 3,000 people, most of whom were subjected to repression and torture. Following these incidents, on December 22, 1970 First Secretary Władysław Gomułka quit the position at the Central Committee, being replaced by Edward Gierek. In February 1971, to prevent a new wave of strikes on the northern coast of the country, the price of meat was restored to that before December 13.

 

Powrót (1972)

Direction: Jerzy Kucia
Duration: 9 minutes 29 seconds
Genres: animation, short
Country: Poland

A man on the train becomes lost in a daydream in which he goes back to his childhood. When the train stops and dreams disappear, a tired hunched man walks slowly onto the platform.

 

The Other Bank (2009)

Direction: George Ovashvili
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Genres: drama
Country: Georgia , Kazakhstan

Stars: Tedo Bekhauri, Tamar Meskhi, Archil Tabukashvili, Temo Goginava

A young refugee and his mother flee ethnic cleansing in the Georgian region of Abkhazia, leaving his father behind. After arriving in the Georgina capital of Tbilisi, the young boy encounters difficulties with his mother, and begins a lonely journey back to Abkahzia to find his father.

A light in the tunel (1985)

Direction: Julian Józef Antonowicz
Duration: 8 minutes 43 seconds
Genres: film non-camera
Country: Poland

The above description is Julian Józef Antonisz’s vision of afterlife, one which had originally been envisioned by Jerzy Bossak, a prominent Polish documentary director, pedagogue and an avowed appraiser of both the Cracow artist’s non-camera output and his humor. It is not only the visual side which makes the ‘Light in the Tunnel’ so impressive, but also the diligently crafted soundtrack, a specific collage composed of varying, yet consistent sounds: poignant music (the work of the director himself), field recordings, voice samples (medical verbal commands given in English) or even a popular Russian ballad. The movie won Antonisz the International FICC Federation of Film Societies Award (Fédération Internationale des Ciné-Clubs) at the 32nd International Short Movie Festival held in Oberhausen in 1986. What was particularly appreciated by the jury was the film’s integration of the audio-visual.

 

Keep Smiling (2012)

Direction: Rusudan Chkonia
Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes

Genres: dramat, komedia
Country: France , Georgia, Luxembourg

Stars: : Ia Sukhitashvili, Gia Roinishvili, Olga Babluani, Tamuna Bukhnikashvili, Nana Shonia, Shorena Begashvili, Maka Chichua

The film recounts the dramatic events that take place at a beauty contest involving ten mothers, five of whom belong to the poorest sections of society, and their many children. The mothers are desperately trying to win a beauty contest which main prize is an apartment and $25,000. Dreams are quick to vanish as realization dawns that the competition is a complete farce. The media and organizers of the show are exploiting the misfortunes of the participants: Georgian women, the Abkhazian war and patriotism are all themes constituting a ploy to create entertainment for the audience, ending up causing a massive fight among participants. "While shooting a documentary, I met a beautiful, intelligent woman, and the mother of seven kids, who told me how she took part in a beauty contest for mothers. I was swayed by ambivalent feelings as I listened to her. It was a tragic painful story, yet at times so absurd that I could hardly refrain from laughing. I decided immediately that somehow I was going to make a film out of it. Keep Smiling is a heartfelt story, a vast reservoir of pain but told with satiric humour, a tale of six Georgian women taking part in a beauty contest of mothers. The media and organizers exploit the participants' human tragedies: the lives of Georgian women, the Abkhazian war, patriotism. The film is about how easy it is to become a puppet in somebody´s hands and how hard it is to retain self-respect. Is it right that the end justifies the means? And does winning at the price of lost dignity make one happy?"

 

Fallen Art (2007)

Direction: Tomek Bagiński
Duration: 6 minutes

Genres: animation, short
Country: Poland

Atoll. An old, forgotten military base in the Pacific. Soldiers who have lost their minds due to the hardships of past mis­sions, and exemplary officers the Army can’t yet get rid of are sent there. There, far away from civilization, laws and rules they nature their insanities. Sergeant Al cultivates his love for the brave soldiers. Dr. Friedrich cultivates his talent for photography. And the old, mentally lost General A creates his art. He uses neither paper nor canvas. He attempts something completely different…

 

Street Days (2010)

Direction: Levan Koguashvili
Duration: 1 hour 29 minutes
Genres: drama
Country: Georgia

Stars: Guga Kotetishvili, Irakli Ramishvili, Zura Begalishvili, Rusiko Kobiashvili, Zaza Salia

Modern time Tbilisi, Georgia. Cops arrest jobless heroine addict Checkie, 45, and give him 2 days to introduce Ika, 16, to drugs, so that they could blackmail Ika's politician father. If Checkie agrees to cooperate he'll get paid, if not he'll go to jail. Checkie desperately needs money for his family and he agrees. Cops give him 2 days to set up everything. Checkie takes Ika to shoot up, but at the very last moment Checkie changes his mind.

 

Bolek and Lolek

 

Bolek and Lolek (also known as Jym & Jam and Bennie and Lennie in English) is a brand well known far beyond borders of Poland. Films starring the two characters were distributed on all continents. In some countries, several generations of children were raised on their adventures. The creators of Bolek and Lolek are Władysław Nehrebecki, Alfred Ledwig and Leszek Lorek. The first animated film with the two characters was produced in 1963. The film, entitled The Crossbow, started the first, thirteen episodes long series. Subsequent series were Bolek and Lolek on Vacation, Bolek and Lolek Travel the World, Tales of Bolek and Lolek, Bolek and Lolek in the Wild West, Adventures of Bolek and Lolek, Fun with Bolek and Lolek. In 1978 Władysław Nehrebecki and Stanisław Dulza directed Bolek and Lolek's Great Journey, a feature film. It was the first animated feature film in the history of Polish cinema, and it was distributed in over 80 countries. The next feature film, Bolek and Lolek in the Wild West, was directed by Stanisław Dulza in 1986. A total of 184 films featuring Bolek and Lolek were produced by Studio Filmów Rysunkowych (Animated Film Studio). Even today Bolek and Lolek's Great Journey remains one of the best selling Polish films, and the popularity of the two characters was confirmed in a poll by Gazeta Wyborcza and TVP – Bolek and Lolek decisively won the title of the best TV good-night programme for children ever.