Grzegorz Królikiewicz – Sasiady AKA Neighborhooders (2014)

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The setting is a run-down tenement house—a so-called famuła, characteristic of the city of Łódź—and several incidents—both humorous and terrifying—involving the building’s tenants: some people want to earn the respect of their neighbors by beating each other up; an altruistic housewife with two hearts makes a donation to someone in need. The residents include a priest built like an MMA fighter, a charming prostitute, and a man planning to commit suicide. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Dekalog AKA The Decalogue (1989)

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Dekalog was made for Polish TV as a series of ten films, each just under an hour in length, inspired by one of the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue), set in contemporary Warsaw in and around the same apartment block. Dekalog V and VI also exist in re-edited versions just under an hour and a half each for cinema release, under the titles A Short Film About Killing and A Short Film About Love respectively.
As well as being set in and around the same apartment block, the films are linked in other ways. Major characters in one part make walk-ons in another. An ethical dilemma mentioned by one of Zofia’s students in VIII is the very one that drives the plot of II. And in all but two of the films there appears a mysterious young man (Artur Barcis), who appears, looking on, at important moments. Continue reading

Yimou Zhang – Hong gao liang AKA Red Sorghum (1987)

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An old leper who owned a remote sorghum winery dies. Jiu’er, the wife bought by the leper, and her lover, identified only as “my Grandpa” by the narrator, take over the winery and set up an idealized quasi-matriarchal community headed by Jiu’er. When the Japanese invaders subject the area to their rule and cut down the sorghum to make way for a road, the community rises up and resists as the sorghum grows anew. Continue reading

Andrzej Zulawski – Trzecia czesc nocy aka The Third Part of The Night (1971)

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“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. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Spokoj AKA The Calm AKA Peace (1976)

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Based on the short story A Step Beyond the Gate / Krok za brame by Lech Borski).
A television feature that is considered to have been one of the pioneering films in the cinema of moral anxiety. The story of worker Antoni Gralak who is released from prison and wishes to settle down to a calm life. He fails to find peace though he does find a woman to marry and a place to live. The realities of the Polish People’s Republic cause him to enter into conflict with his construction worker colleagues who decide at one point to organise a strike, and with the manager of the construction site who wishes to make an informer of him. These complications conclude tragically. Premiered on television in 1980. @culture.pl
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