Krzysztof Zanussi – Obce cialo AKA Foreign Body (2014)

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Synopsis:
Angelo and Kasia met in Italy in a Focolari prayer group and were brought together by love and faith in God. Their relationship is interrupted by the young woman’s return to Poland and her decision to become a nun. Angelo comes to Warsaw to persuade Kasia to change her mind. Waiting for her decision, he gets a job at a multinational corporation. The company is run by a ruthless and cynical woman, Kris. In the corporate reality the deeply religious Angelo falls victim to mockery and mobbing. Using her power, Kris toys with him and wants to force him to violate his moral principles, while being fascinated by his faith at the same time. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Krótki film o zabijaniu AKA A Short Film About Killing (1988)

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Quote:
Death from the very beginning — a rat decomposing in the water, a cat hanging from a railing as giggling children run off. In Krzysztof Kieslowski’s expansion of the Decalogue: Five segment (“Thou shalt not kill”), the commandment bounds individual and governmental killing into one object of anguished contemplation. Biblical intimations also figure in the bar exam summation (“Since Cain, no punishment has been capable of improving the world”) of apprentice attorney Krzysztof Globisz, one of the three Warsaw dwellers whose path ominously converge; the others are a 20-year-old drifter (Miroslaw Baka) and a jaundiced, middle-aged cabbie (Jan Tesarz). The obscured-vision effects of Slawomir Idziak’s dirty-sepia filters — characters encircled by soiling irises — suggest isolated realities clashing appallingly in the most excruciating murder since Torn Curtain’s farmhouse killing: a mid-ride throttling, Tesarz’s writhing foot emerging bare from shoe and sock, a heavy body dragged through an almost Tarkovskyan marsh before the final bludgeoning at Bakas hand’s. Continue reading

Krzysztof Kieslowski – Krótki film o milosci AKA A Short Film About Love (1988)

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Quote:
An obscured thief breaks into a school gymnasium at night to steal a portable telescope from the science lab. On the following morning, the thief, Tomek (Olaf Lubaszenko) sets up the telescope on his desk, facing the window of his room, and across the courtyard into an adjacent apartment. Later in the day, an attractive, hurried woman named Magda (Grazyna Szapolowska) stops by the post office in order to claim a money order after receiving a notification in her mailbox, only to be informed by the attentive young postal clerk, Tomek, that there is nothing being held at the station on her behalf. Back home, Tomek sets his alarm clock to 8:00 pm, the approximate time of Magda’s return home. Tomek would prepare his meals and dine in the privacy of his room, away from the curious gaze of his godmother (Stefania Iwinska), and spend hours observing Magda as she goes through the routine of her household tasks, often placing anonymous, silent telephone calls to hear the sound of her voice. Continue reading

Andrzej Wajda – Walesa. Czlowiek z nadziei AKA Walesa: Man of Hope (2013)

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The depiction of the life of Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Poland’s Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa, as events in the 1970s lead to a peaceful revolution.

Quote:
Wałęsa, an electrician at the Gdańsk Shipyards, participated in local demonstrations during the 1970s. Following the bloody aftermath, which remains with Wałęsa, he concentrates on his day-to-day duties. Ten years later, a new uprising occurs and he becomes an unexpected and charismatic leader of Polish dockworkers. Continue reading

Jerzy Kawalerowicz – Pociag AKA Night Train (1959)

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Quote:
Two strangers, Jerzy (Leon Niemczyk) and Marta (Lucyna Winnicka), accidentally end up holding tickets for the same sleeping chamber on an overnight train to the Baltic Sea coast. While handsome, well dressed and rather laconic, Jerzy seems ill at ease, while Marta is not talkative and would prefer to be alone. Staszek (Zbigniew Cybulski) is a student and Marta’s spurned lover, and will not leave her alone. When the police enter the train in search of a murderer on the lam, rumors fly and everything seems to point toward one of the main characters as the culprit. [spoiler removed from quote] Continue reading

Jerzy Skolimowski – Walkower AKA Walkover (1965)

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Quote:
Jerzy Skolimowski’s second feature (and first full-length narrative) cemented his status as a one-man Polish New Wave, with the rhythms of his films influenced as much by jazz and (his own) poetry as by more conventional storytelling. Skolimowski himself plays a dropout-turned-amateur boxer who’s distracted from his bouts when Teresa (Aleksandra Zawieruszanka), an old university friend, re-enters his life. Continue reading

Krzysztof Zanussi – Iluminacja AKA Illumination (1973)

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Quote:
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 selfabsorbed 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. Continue reading