Poland

Jerzy Kawalerowicz – Matka Joanna od aniolów AKA Mother Joan of the Angels (1961)

In the seventeenth century, Father Suryn arrives in Ludyn, a village on what was then the eastern border of Poland, to perform exorcisms on the Ursuline nuns who are allegedly possessed by the devil. While trying to drive evil spirits out of the body of the prioress, Mother Joan, Father Suryn starts experiencing uncomfortably secular and sensual feelings towards her. Read More »

Janusz Majewski – Szpital AKA Hospital (1962)

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Janusz Majewski’s 1962 short feature. Award at the Tours Film Festival, 1963. Source: TVP KULTURA broadcast.

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Janusz Majewski is one of Poland’s most durable and prolific filmmakers. In a career that spans half a century Majewski has directed a variety of films, with comedies and period pieces predominating. He also made LOKIS, one of Poland’s most famous horror features, and a wealth of horror-themed shorts that comprise a significant body of work in their own right. In fact, I’d argue that Majewski can be counted as the foremost director of Polish horror movies (his only real competition in this regard are his fellow countrymen Roman Polanski, Jerzy Skolimowski and Andrzej Zulawski, all of whom have made the majority of their films outside Poland). Read More »

Krzysztof Zanussi – Spirala aka Spiral (1978)

In what appears to be an inexplicable incident, a man drives up to a resort hotel in midwinter, throws away his car keys, enters, and proceeds to agitate everyone he meets with his urgency — a message he is somehow unable to communicate. Then he leaves, disappearing in the snow. Later, the people he appeared to have upset have gathered to search for him and find him frostbitten, but alive. Visiting him at the sanatorium to which he has been taken, they gradually discover what was really happening. Read More »

Krzysztof Zanussi & Henryk Ryszka – Samolot z Budapesztu AKA A Plane from Budapest (1961)

An early Zanussi short. Fun fact: it’s called “Plane from Budapest” but the only arriving plane in the movie is from Amsterdam.
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Here we see short scenes from a random day at the airport. We have flying planes, landings, passport checking scenes, passengers waiting for their relatives. This documentary shows the ordinary but unique behaviors and reactions of the passengers and the airport maintenance staff. Read More »

Marcin Koszalka – Czerwony pajak AKA Red Spider (2015)

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Karol, an ordinary young man, runs into a much older man, whom he believes to be the so-called Red Spider, the terrifying serial killer prowling the streets of Kraków in the 1960s. Karol becomes obsessed with the man and spies on him. In the meantime he meets Danka, a slightly older photographer, working for the local newspaper. Tempted by love, fascinated by death, Karol will soon have to make the most important choice of his life. Read More »

Piotr Szulkin – Wojna swiatów – nastepne stulecie AKA The War of the Worlds: Next Century (1981)

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Film opens on December 18, 1999, just a few days before the dawn of the new century. A local reporter, Iron Idem, announces that the Martians have landed. Shortly after that his program loses its independence: he is given the script telling the crowds how to welcome the invaders. Then the chaos breaks out: the Martians and police mistreat the populace; things become violent. Idem’s own wife is kidnapped and it seems somebody is trying to reduce his effectiveness as a reporter. Idem decides to fight back: he illegally broadcasts a message during the rock concert, but nobody believes him anymore. Read More »

Krzysztof Krauze – Dlug AKA The Debt (1999) (DVD)

The Debt is a gripping thriller about two entrepreneurs who become tangled in the web of a Russian thug. Two friends begin a business venture of importing Italian scooters into Poland. With no collateral, they turn to a Russian acquaintance that offers money and support in the beginning and then inexplicably turns violent and vicious. Tension mounts as the two friends begin to understand what must be done. Based on a true story, The Debt is a terrifying tale of ordinary men pushed to their limit. Read More »