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Polish Cinema

This spring at Fopp we’re celebrating the best that Polish Cinema has to offer, whether it’s the thrilling exploits of WW2 resistance fighters or introspective, art house endeavours. Post World War 2 Polish cinema largely featured films produced from the perspective of the Polish resistance that were defined by their allegiance to Socialist Realism, the official artistic line of the Communist Party. Changes to the Polish political climate allowed for more artistic freedom to be expressed in film, with Polish directors working throughout the 60s and 70s influencing greats such as Martin Scorsese. Furthermore, contemporary Polish cinema is a rich tapestry, films such as ‘Ida’ won best foreign language film at the 2015 Academy Awards. All titles in offer from £6 on Blu-ray and £5 on DVD.

The Champion of Auschwitz


director  Maciej Barczewski
written by  Maciej Barczewski
starring  Piotr Glowacki · Jan Szydlowski · Grzegorz Malecki
language(s)  Polish · German  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Polish biopic starring Piotr Glowacki as Tadeusz Pietrzykowski, set during WWII. Following his internment in Auschwitz former boxer Tadeusz competes in bouts arranged by the Nazi guards. As his reputation grows Tadeusz is offered more food and medicine, however, the treatment of his fellow prisoners means he does all he can to ensure their safety often to the detriment of his own treatment.

Cold War


director  pawel pawlikowski
written by  pawel pawlikowski ·  janusz glowacki · piotr borkowski
starring  joanna kulig · tomasz kot · borys szyc
language(s)  croatian · french · german · italian · polish · russian  subtitles  english
format  dvd and blu-ray

 

pawel pawlikowski co-writes and directs this romantic drama set during the cold war. in poland in 1949, musical director wiktor warski (tomasz kot) finds a star in young student zula lichon (joanna kulig), while scouting local talent for his folk group. after enjoying success and beginning an affair, the couple are split apart when their show is forced to become a soviet propaganda act and wiktor heads for the freedom of western europe while zula hesitates and opts to stay, a decision that will shape their tragic romance for decades to come.

Dekalog


director  Krzysztof Kieślowski
written by  Krzysztof Kieślowski · Krzysztof Piesiewicz
starring  Artur Barcis · Olgierd Lukaszewicz · Olaf Lubaszenko
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  Blu-ray

 

Ten-part Polish drama series by Krzysztof Kieslowski based on dramatic representations of the Ten Commandments. In ‘Dekalog 1’ a tragedy occurs when a man trusts some incorrect weather information. ‘Dekalog 2’ concerns a dying man and his wife’s extra-marital pregnancy. ‘Dekalog 3’ sees a taxi driver help an ex-girlfriend on Christmas Eve. ‘Dekalog 4’ has a young woman discover that the man she always believed to be her father is not in fact biologically related to her. ‘Dekalog 5’ follows what happens when a young man murders a taxi driver. In ‘Dekalog 6’ a young man grows infatuated with a worldly girl. ‘Dekalog 7’ has a mother and daughter struggle in a battle of wills. ‘Dekalog 8’ sees past sins picked over as a means to survive. ‘Dekalog 9’ finds an impotent husband wrestling with his wife’s unfaithfulness. Finally, ‘Dekalog 10’ concerns two brothers who are drawn into a bitter feud over a legacy.

Demon


director  Marcin Wrona
written by  Pawel Maslona · Marcin Wrona
starring  Itay Tiran · Agnieszka Zulewska · Andrzej Grabowski
language(s)  Polish · english  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Supernatural horror co-written and directed by Marcin Wrona. After uncovering a buried skeleton while doing some building work, Piotr (Itay Tiran)’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic as he prepares to get married. With the wedding party in full swing, Piotr’s strange actions cause some guests to believe he has been possessed by an evil spirit. The cast also includes Agnieszka Zulewska, Andrzej Grabowski and Katarzyna Herman.

eroica


director  Andrzej Munk
written by  Jerzy Stefan Stawinski
starring  Edward Dziewonski · Barbara Polomska · Ignacy Machowski
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Andrzej Munk’s ‘heroic symphony’, set during WWII, presents two sardonic tales of courage and valour which aim to demystify the archetypal image of heroism. The first movement focuses on a seemingly feckless and selfish man and his ironic route to finally taking up arms in the national struggle against the Nazis. The second movement is set in a POW camp whose Polish inmates cling to their hopes for an eventual escape, encouraged by the legendary escape of one of their number. Both tales converge to create a blackly comic and perceptive satire; a provocative, powerful, and potent anti-war poem considered amongst the most subversive films of the period.

Floating Skyscrapers


director  Tomasz Wasilewski
written by  Tomasz Wasilewski
starring  Mateusz Banasiuk · Marta Nieradkiewicz · Bartosz Gelner
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  Blu-ray

 

Polish gay-themed drama directed by Tomasz Wasilewski. The story follows competitive swimmer Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk) who shares an apartment with girlfriend Sylwia (Marta Nieradkiewicz) and his overbearing mother Ewa (Katarzyna Herman). Unbeknownst to Sylwia, Kuba has begun to take an interest in men and engages in a number of illicit encounters during his visits to the gym, but, being a slave to passion, these encounters seem only physical in nature. That is, until he meets college student Michal (Bartosz Gelner) at an exhibition opening and a more serious relationship begins to develop. It is only then that Kuba starts to realise the difference between sexual orientation and sexual promiscuity, leading to increasing tension in his relationship with Sylwia.

Hourglass Sanatorium


director  Wojciech Has
written by  Wojciech Has
starring  Jan Nowicki · Tadeusz Kondrat · Irena Orska
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

Wojciech Has writes and directs this Polish fantasy drama following a traveller as he reminisces about events in his life. Set in pre-Second World War Poland, Jozef (Jan Nowicki) takes a dilapidated train to visit his dying father who’s incarcerated in a sanatorium. When he arrives at the facility, Jozef’s memories of his past combine with his fantasies, bringing forth images of the ghetto, early girlfriends, colonial soldiers, and his parents in happier times.

Ida


director  Pawel Pawlikowski
written by  Pawel Pawlikowski · Rebecca Lenkiewicz
starring  Agata Kulesza · Agata Trzebuchowska · Dawid Ogrodnik
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Pawel Pawlikowski directs this award-winning Polish drama set in a convent in the 1960s. When Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), an orphan who was brought up by the nuns of the convent, decides she wants to take her vows, she is told that first she must visit her only living relative, Wanda (Agata Kulesza). As Wanda reveals to Anna that her real name is Ida Lebenstein and that she is actually Jewish, Anna starts to rethink her whole life. As the two go on a journey to find out more about their ancestors they reveal certain facts that were best left hidden. The film won a BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

In A Bedroom


director  Tomasz Wasilewski
written by  Tomasz Wasilewski
starring  Katarzyna Herman · Tomasz Tyndyk · Agata Buzek
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Polish drama. The film follows Edyta (Katarzyna Herman), who has left her husband and family behind and moved to Warsaw where she spends her days driving around the city and her nights meeting random men in their own homes. Although she meets these men under the pretence of having sex with them, she instead drugs them with sleeping pills and only takes advantage of their hospitality. However, when she meets Patryk (Tomasz Tyndyk), her outlook takes a turn for the better and she begins to see a way out of her crisis.

The Illumination


director  Krzysztof Zanussi
written by  Krzysztof Zanussi
starring  Stanislaw Latallo · Monika Dzienisiewicz-Olbrychska · Malgorzata Pritulak
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Unanimous winner of all three main prizes at the 1973 Locarno International Film Festival, Zanussi’s landmark film is a dazzling kaleidoscope of ideas and images. Illumination explores the life of a self-absorbed young physicist trying to understand his place in the universe. He thinks science will provide the answers, but ultimately learns far more about himself through experiencing love, betrayal, loss, and facing his own mortality. As much a philosophical essay as a narrative feature, Illumination is a cinematic mosaic combining art and science, intellect and emotion. Innovatively structured, this unflinching examination of one man’s life became an iconic cultural marker for a whole generation.

In Darkness


director  Agnieszka Holland
written by  David F. Shamoon
starring  Robert Wieckiewicz · Benno Fürmann · Agnieszka Grochowska
language(s)  Polish · Ukrainian · Yiddish · German  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

In 1943, Lvov, Poland was a beautiful city held in the iron grip of the Nazi occupation. The weak prey upon the weaker; the poor steal from the less poor. Near the bottom of this chain is Leopold Socha, a petty thief. His knowledge of the sewers’ intricate maze of tunnels and chambers, in which he hides his loot, has earned him a menial job as a sewer worker. But there is a group of people in Lvov worse off than Socha – the Jews. Crowded into a ghetto, they are being worked and starved to death. Realizing that the ghetto is about to be destroyed, a motley group led by Mundek a young man determined to survive the war, they plan in secret to plot an escape into the sewers. Under constant surveillance, they manage to tunnel down. As soon as they enter this dark netherworld, they are discovered by Socha. The Jews offer him money to hide them. The consequences of aiding Jews would be public hanging of the helper and his entire family. But Socha desperately needs this money. In spite of grave misgivings on both sides, they strike a deal. As the Nazis start to liquidate the Lvov ghetto, Socha seizes the opportunity to profit by keeping them hidden and protected them from the devastation above. As the pressure to betray the Jewish families builds, Socha finds himself increasingly in danger, and abandons them to protect himself. But fate and his growing respect for Mundek and an awakened conscience drive him back, and he commits himself to protecting his new “family” at all costs. Socha now risks his own life and that of his family to try and save a dozen people from certain death by hiding them in the sewers. But an old acquaintance of his who has recently been promoted to local commander working for the Germans, grows suspicious of Soha and has new information from informants that people could be hiding in labyrinth of sewers under the city. Is their time running out? An incredible true story of courage from WWII.

Innocent Sorcerers


director  Andrzej Wajda
written by  Jerzy Andrzejewski · Jerzy Skolimowski
starring  Tadeusz Lomnicki · Krystyna Stypulkowska · Wanda Koczeska
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

A celebrated landmark of Polish cinema, Innocent Sorcerers has been restored from its original materials and is presented in a new director-approved High-Definition transfer. Following after his renowned War trilogy, Andrzej Wajda made this provocative film about contemporary youth from a script co-written by Jerzy Skolimowski (Deep End). A commentary on the lives of young people who grew up in the new, post-war communist Poland, Wajda chronicles a bohemian milieu of motor-scooters, love, sex and jazz with great vitality and humour. The rebellion the film depicts is social and moral, not political – and the film angered both Communist and Church authorities by showing its young characters’ explicit rejection of any ideological affinity.

 

Knife in the Water


director  Roman Polanski
written by  Jakub Goldberg · Roman Polanski · Jerzy Skolimowski
starring  Leon Niemczyk · Jolanta Umecka · Zygmunt Malanowicz
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

An early thriller from director Roman Polanski. When a successful sportswriter and his wife invite a strange young boy to join them on their sailboat, the husband, jealous of the boy’s youth, continually provokes him, chiding him for his lack of prowess in swimming and sailing. However, the tense atmosphere on board comes to a head when during a quarrel the husband flings the boy’s pocket knife into the water. The boy jumps in to retrieve it, but does not re-surface.

Knights of the Teutonic Order


director  Aleksander Ford
written by  Aleksander Ford · Leon Kruczkowski
starring  Urszula Modrzynska · Grazyna Staniszewska · Andrzej Szalawski
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

The film of Knights of The Teutonic Order was based on the novel ‘Krzyzacy’ by the Polish author Henryk Sienkiewicz. The novel was focuses on the events leading up to the Battle Of Grunwald which took place in 1410 between the Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and their allies on one side and the Knights of The Teutonic Order on the other. It was the decisive engagement of the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic war (1409-11) and the greatest battle of medieval Europe. The novel was written in a time when no Polish state existed and Poles lived in areas controlled by other states (the empires of Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary). Sienkiewicz is said to have written it to encourage Polish confidence and pride against Germany. It was originally published as series of magazine episodes between 1987-89 and printed as a full book 1900. It was reputed to be the fi rst book published in Poland after the Second World War. Considered as one of the greatest and most popular Polish films of all time, this epic is a spectacular historical romance and war film set in the Middle Ages. Based on the best-selling book by Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz (Quo Vadis), the epic scope of Knights compares with the best in Hollywood epics and is a film for viewers of all ages.

Cinema Of Conflict Four Films By Krzystof Kieslowski


director  Krzystof Kieslowski
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  Blu-ray

 

Few names are as synonymous with Polish cinema as that of Krzysztof Kieślowski, the renowned auteur responsible for the Dekalog and the Three Colours trilogy. Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and his subsequent creative and critical success in France, Kieślowski plied his trade within the confines of the Eastern Bloc, capturing the realities of everyday life under Soviet rule. This collection gathers his four earliest narrative feature films, encapsulating the years 1976–1984. As socially conscious as Kieślowski’s earlier documentary shorts, this quartet of films covers a tumultuous period in Polish and Eastern European history, shot with unflinching realism by a filmmaker of distinction.

The Last Family


director  Jan P. Matuszynski
written by  Robert Bolesto
starring  Andrzej Seweryn · Dawid Ogrodnik · Aleksandra Konieczna
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Polish drama and debut feature from director Jan P. Matuszynski. The film follows Zdzislaw Beksinski (Andrzej Seweryn), a painter whose unique brand of dystopian surrealist paintings gain him notoriety as a contemporary artist. Living with his wife Zofia (Aleksandra Konieczna) and neurotic son Tomasz (Dawid Ogrodnik), Zdzislaw struggles to maintain control as Tomasz’s violent outbursts and suicidal threats begin to worsen. Things start to look up when Tomasz becomes a radio presenter, but trouble is never far away as the battle to keep him from harming himself begins to take its toll on his despairing parents.

Life Feels Good


director  Maciej Pieprzyca
written by  Maciej Pieprzyca
starring  Dawid Ogrodnik · Dorota Kolak · Arkadiusz Jakubik
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Polish drama. Diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy at birth, Mateusz (Dawid Ogrodnik) has also been misdiagnosed as having an intellectual disability due to his inability to communicate effectively with his doctors and parents. Thankfully, his mother and father (Dorota Kolak and Arkadiusz Jakubik) are loving and caring towards their son and try their best to support him as much as they can. However, when a tragedy hits home which results in Mateusz being placed in a care home, his situation worsens as he struggles to find ways to communicate his intelligence and ability to understand…

The Lure


director  Agnieszka Smoczynska
written by  Robert Bolesto
starring  Marta Mazurek · Michalina Olszanska · Kinga Preis
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Agnieszka Smoczynska directs this Polish horror musical starring Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska. Carnivorous mermaid sisters Srebrna (Mazurek) and Zlota (Olszanska) come ashore one night in Warsaw where they meet a family of musicians who, transfixed by their siren-like song, invite them to sing with them at a local nightclub. Becoming an instant hit with the clubgoers, their new life looks set to give them a fresh start but when Srebrna falls in love with a human Zlota worries that her sister’s feelings will jeopardise their long term plan.

Man of Marble


director  Andrzej Wajda
written by  Aleksander Scibor-Rylski
starring  Krystyna Janda · Jerzy Radziwilowicz · Tadeusz Lomnicki
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

An iconic landmark of Polish cinema, Man of Marble has been restored from original materials and is presented in a new director-approved High-Definition transfer. Andrzej Wajda’s dazzling Man of Marble is also one of the key films of the 1970s. Often described as the ‘Polish Citizen Kane’, Wajda’s epic operates as both an electrifying political saga and a compelling analysis of the nature of cinema itself. Mateusz Birkut, a bricklayer, glorified in a marble statue as a State-promoted ‘Worker’s Hero’ is subsequently removed from all official mention in 1952. Flash forward to the early 70s where young documentary filmmaker Agnieszka obsessively pursues his story. Birkut’s rise and fall and disappearance into obscurity provides Wajda with a framework for a brave reassessment of the period.

Mother Joan of the Angels


director  Jerzy Kawalerowicz
written by  Tadeusz Konwicki · Jerzy Kawalerowicz
starring  Lucyna Winnicka · Mieczyslaw Voit · Anna Ciepielewska
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

A celebrated landmark of Polish cinema, the award-winning Mother Joan of the Angels has been restored from its original materials and is presented in a new high-definition transfer. Taking the infamous and documented ‘demonic possession’ of a group of nuns in Loudun, France in 1634 as his starting point (events subsequently also adapted by Ken Russell for his notorious film The Devils), director Jerzy Kawalerowicz created an intensely provocative and visually astonishing film. Aided by an extraordinary performance by Lucyna Winnicka as Mother Joan, the possessed Mother Superior of the convent, and Mieczysław Voit as the troubled priest Father Józef Suryn, Kawalerowicz’s masterpiece is a profoundly disturbing exploration of faith, repression, fanaticism and sexuality.

The Mountain Lodge


director  Wojciech Kasperski
written by  Wojciech Kasperski
starring  Marcin Dorocinski · Andrzej Chyra · Andrzej Grabowski
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Polish thriller in which what starts out as a bonding experience between a father and his two teenage sons rapidly descends into a fight for survival. When ex-border patrol guard Mateusz (Andrzej Chyra) decides to venture back out into the mountains where he used to keep watch over, he takes with him his two sons to distract them from a recent family tragedy. In the cold wilderness, they decide to shelter from the elements in a cabin where they assume to be completely alone. When a disorientated stranger arrives at the cabin, Mateusz leaves the boys to tend to him as he ventures out into the snow to help the others that the stranger claims to have left behind. In their father’s absence, however, the situation soon turns deadly as they discover that there is more to their uninvited guest than they first thought…

Mug


director  Malgorzata Szumowska
written by  Michal Englert · Malgorzata Szumowska
starring  Mateusz Kosciukiewicz · Agnieszka Podsiadlik · Malgorzata Gorol
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Malgorzata Szumowska co-writes and directs this Polish comedy drama. Jacek (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) is a young builder who loves metal music and lives in a rural Polish village with his girlfriend Dagamara (Malgorzata Gorol). While working on a giant statue of Jesus, Jacek suffers a horrific fall and sustains injuries so severe that he has to undergo a face transplant. Now unrecognisable, Jacek is ostracised by his community and left only with the support of his sister (Agnieszka Podsiadlik), as he struggles to pay his medical bills and searches for his new place in the world.

Never Gonna Snow Again


director  Malgorzata Szumowska · Michal Englert
written by  Michal Englert · Malgorzata Szumowska
starring  Alec Utgoff · Maja Ostaszewska · Agata Kulesza
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  Blu-ray

 

When a mysterious stranger arrives in a gated community on the outskirts of a large Polish city, he is welcomed by the wealthy residents who embrace his talents as a masseur. Though his hands provide healing, his eyes seem to penetrate their very souls, lifting a disquiet in each of their lives. Zhenia (Alec Utgoff) possesses a magical gift and to the residents his Russian accent also sounds like a song from the past, a peaceful melody from their childhood when the world was a safer place. And though his hypnotic techniques bring calm his background remains a mystery, leaving the residents to wonder what other secrets he holds. Featuring a hypnotic lead performance from Utgoff, this striking new film from Malgorzata Szumowska and her longtime collaborator Michal Englert is wondrous, compelling and uplifting.

Night Train


director  Jerzy Kawalerowicz
written by  Jerzy Kawalerowicz · Jerzy Lutowski
starring  Lucyna Winnicka · Leon Niemczyk · Teresa Szmigielówna
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Kawalerowicz’s celebrated film is considered one of the finest achievements of Polish cinema. Employing a classic Hitchcockian premise – two people, one possibly a killer on the run, sharing a compartment on a crowded overnight train – Kawalerowicz turns a thriller into an intriguing character study of ordinary people in unusual circumstances. Featuring impressive performances from Lucyna Winnicka (Mother Joan of the Angels), Zbigniew Cybulski (the ‘Polish James Dean’) and Leon Niemczyk (Knife in the Water), Night Train is more than simply a thriller… taut and gripping but also suffused with humour and warmth and boasting a wonderful jazz score by renowned composer Andrzej Trzaskowski.

Nina


director  Olga Chajdas
written by  Olga Chajdas · Marta Konarzewska · Julia Kijowska
starring  Eliza Rycembel · Julia Kijowska · Andrzej Konopka
language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Polish romantic drama in which a couple end up in a complicated relationship with their potential surrogate. After discovering that Nina (Julia Kijowska) is unable to conceive, she and her husband Wojtek set out to find a surrogate to carry their future child. When Wojtek (Andrzej Konopka) happens to meet Magda (Eliza Rycembel) and notices that she has green eyes, a trait they desire for their own offspring, he takes her to meet Nina. What ensues is a complicated web of deceit as Nina and Magda form an unexpected bond that may threaten the future of her marriage with Wojtek.

Passenger


director  Andrzej Munk · Witold Lesiewicz
written by  Andrzej Munk
starring  Aleksandra Slaska · Anna Ciepielewska · Jan Kreczmar
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

Passenger has been called ‘one of the most audacious fictions ever made about the Holocaust’. Director Munk died in a car crash, aged just 39, in the middle of filming. His friend, Witold Lesiewicz, and his colleagues decided to complete the film to what they believed were Munk’s intentions and assembled it using the existing footage, Munk’s still photographs and a voice-over narration. Finally released in 1964, the film won main awards at Cannes and Venice and has been described by those who have seen it as an unfinished masterpiece. Unseen for far too long, this is the first-ever DVD release of this unique film anywhere in the world.

Polish Cinema Classics


language(s)  Polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

This Special 4-Disc DVD set of four classic films of Polish cinema
made by four of Poland’s greatest filmmakers. These celebrated films have been fully restored from new High-Definition masters and are released for the first time ever in the UK.

 

This boxset includes;
Night Train  Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959
Innocent Sorcerers  Andrzej Wajda 1960
Eroica  Andrzej Munk 1957
Goodbye, See You Tomorrow  Janusz Morgenstern 1960


director  Andrzej Wajda
written by  Andrzej Wajda
starring  Daniel Olbrychski · Wojciech Pszoniak · Andrzej Seweryn
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Adapted from Nobel Laureate Władysław Reymont’s classic 1897 novel, The Promised Land is the story of three friends one Polish, one German and one Jewish – united in their ruthless pursuit of fortune. With stunning camerawork and sumptuous design, Wajda depicts the explosive energy of a world being transformed by rampant industrialisation.

The Saragossa Manuscipt


director  Wojciech Has
written by  Tadeusz Kwiatkowski
starring  Zbigniew Cybulski · Iga Cembrzynska · Elzbieta Czyzewska
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

During Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, two soldiers discover a strange manuscript at an Inn. The book chronicles the adventures of Alfonso van Worden. Alfonso’s passage through the dangerous Sierra Morena mountains is repeatedly interrupted by seemingly random encounters with an assortment of larger than life figures. Tunisian princesses inform Alfonso that he is their cousin and their betrothed; an occult scholar ensnares Alfonso with confounding stories about feuds between Merchants and hardships faced by gypsies. Fully restored, The Saragossa Manuscript is a major cult film of the 1960s. Its admirers include film-makers Luis Buñuel and David Lynch. Its approach to storytelling, admiringly described by author Neil Gaiman as ‘a labyrinth inside a maze’, features stories within stories, alternatively frightening and comical in its mind-bending exploration of human nature.

A Short Film About Killing


director  Krzysztof Kieslowski
written by  Krzysztof Kieslowski · Krzysztof Piesiewicz
starring  Miroslaw Baka · Krzysztof Globisz · Jan Tesarz
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

Krzysztof Kieslowski directs this Polish crime drama adapted from an instalment of his ‘Dekalog’ series based on the Ten Commandments. Set in Warsaw, the film depicts the motiveless and botched murder of taxi driver Waldemar Rekowksi (Jan Tesarz) and the subsequent trial and execution of the killer, a troubled drifter named Jacek Lazar (Miroslaw Baka).


director  Walerian Borowczyk
written by  Walerian Borowczyk
starring  Grazyna Dlugolecka · Jerzy Zelnik · Olgierd Lukaszewicz
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

Walerian Borowczyk co-writes and directs this tragic romantic drama based on the novel ‘Dzieje Grzechu’ by acclaimed Polish writer Stefan Zeromski. Eva (Grazyna Dlugolecka) is a beautiful young Polish girl whose passionate affair with a married man leads to betrayal, infanticide and prostitution. Following her lover across Europe to Rome, where he has gone with the stated intention of divorcing his wife, Eva falls prey to the schemes and traps of the various wicked and abusive men she encounters along the way, with ultimately tragic consequences. The cast also includes Jerzy Zelnik, Olgierd Lukaszewicz and Roman Wilhelmi.

Sword of God


director  Bartosz Konopka
written by  Bartosz Konopka · Przemyslaw Nowakowski · Anna Wydra
starring  Christoph Pieczynski · Karol Bernacki · Wiktoria Gorodecka
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Polish historical drama. In the Middle Ages, two knights (Krzysztof Pieczynski and Karol Bernacki) venture to an isolated island to convert the pagan villagers to Christianity. However, their methods provoke the ire of the island’s pagan priest and the village leader Geowold (Jacek Koman), leading to a violent confrontation.

The Third Part of the Night


director  Andrzej Zulawski
written by  Andrzej Zulawski · Miroslaw Zulawski
starring  Malgorzata Braunek · Leszek Teleszynski · Jan Nowicki
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Andrzej Żuławski is one of the true mavericks of European cinema and his wild, imaginative and unique films have won awards at many international film festivals over the years. A nightmarish and surreal masterpiece, The Third Part of the Night is his highly influential debut feature film. Set during the time of the Nazi-occupation of Poland and rich with multilayered symbolism and apocalyptic imagery, it shows one of Europe’s most uncompromising and visionary directors at his best. Considered to be one of the best Polish films of the 1970s, this is its first-ever release on DVD anywhere in the world.

Tricks


director  Andrzej Jakimowski
written by  Andrzej Jakimowski
starring  Damian Ul · Ewelina Walendziak · Tomasz Sapryk
language(s)  polish · Italian  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Feelgood Polish family drama. Stefek (Damian Ul) is a six-year-old boy who is being raised by his single mother in a small mining town near Wroclaw. Closest to his older sister Elka (Ewelina Walendziak), Stefek spends most of his time following her around town, together believing that ‘tricks’ and ‘games’ can influence courses of events which shape their lives. However, as Stefek embarks on a game of chance in which he hopes to get closer to his wayward father, he suddenly realises that bargaining with destiny can be dangerous.

United States Of Love


director  Tomasz Wasilewski
written by  Tomasz Wasilewski
starring  Julia Kijowska · Magdalena Cielecka · Dorota Kolak
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

Tomasz Wasilewski writes and directs this Polish drama starring Julia Kijowska, Magdalena Cielecka and Dorota Kolak. Set in the early 1990s, after the decline of communism in Poland, the film follows four women who are trying to adapt to the changing times and their new-found freedom. The intertwined foursome include Agata (Kijowska), who becomes obsessed with a local priest, schoolteacher Iza (Cielecka), who is having an affair with a doctor, and her fellow teacher Renata (Kolak) who yearns for a closer relationship with her neighbour Marzena (Marta Nieradkiewicz).

Warsaw/The Battle for Warsaw


director  Robert Glinski · Jan Komasa  
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd

 

Double bill of Polish war dramas. Set during the Second World War, ‘Warsaw 1944’ (2014) follows young soldier Stefan (Jozef Pawlowski) as he joins the Warsaw Uprising to take back the city from its Nazi occupiers. Defying the wishes of his family, Stefan courageously joins his friends in taking up arms while they wait for Russia’s Red Army to support them in their attack. But instead of heroically taking back Warsaw, the Polish resistance fighters find themselves doomed to fail as they are crushed by the might of the German forces. ‘The Battle for Warsaw’ (2014) sees Rudy, Zoska and Alek (Tomasz Zietek, Marcel Sabat and Kamil Szeptycki) who are members of the Gray Ranks, an underground Polish movement intent on bringing justice to the German occupiers of Warsaw, join forces to free their colleagues from their Nazi captors. While Rudy continues to be tortured for information he cannot or will not provide, Zoska and Alek pool resources to help their friend escape certain death.

303 Squadron


director  Denis Delic
written by  Chris Burdza · Tomasz Kepski
starring  Piotr Adamczyk · Kirk Barker · Gabriela Calun
language(s)  polish  subtitles  english
format  dvd and Blu-ray

 

WWII drama directed by Denis Delic about the efforts of a highly regarded Polish flying squadron during the Battle of Britain. The story follows the Polish airmen contending with fears about the wellbeing of their loved ones back home as they are stationed in Britain. These anxieties must be put to the side when the German offensive intensifies and the Polish squadron is called upon to defend Britain against the Luftwaffe’s planes.

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