PLOT: HANDS UP! is a Polish drama film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. It is the fourth of a series of semi-autobiographical films in which Skolimowski himself plays his alter ego, Andrzej Leszczyc. The film was originally made in 1967 in monochrome. In a twenty minute section (filmed in colour) added by Skolimowski in 1981 he explains how the original was withheld by Polish censors of the time, and that this was a principal cause of his leaving his country; however following liberalisation in Poland, he was invited to resuscitate it. The introduction includes, apart from some fictional apocalyptic passages, shots of Beirut ruined by the civil wars of the 1970s, where Skolimowski is working as an actor on Volker Schloendorff’s German film CIRCLE OF DECEIT, and also shots of London featuring demonstrations in favour of Solidarnosc, Speaker’s Corner, and an exhibition of Skolimowski’s own paintings. These sections include cameo roles by Bruno Ganz, David Essex, Mike Sarne and others. Some of the music in this introduction is from the 1970 choral work « Kosmogonia » by the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.Read More »
The First Day of Freedom (Polish: Pierwszy dzień wolności) is a 1964 Polish drama film directed by Aleksander Ford. It was entered into the 1965 Cannes Film Festival.
Freed Polish soldiers are trapped in a small town in Germany during the last days of World War II. After a doctor’s daughter is raped by a concentration camp worker, the Poles allow her and her father to stay in the house that is their temporary quarters. While waiting to be repatriated, the war-weary group is forced to fight some German soldiers who invade the town. The war brings out conflicting emotions of the Poles who find themselves trapped in the house and once again under fire from the enemy. by Dan Pavlides, RoviRead More »
A Generation is set in Wola, a working-class section of Warsaw, in 1942 and tells the stories of two young men at odds with the Germans occupation of Poland. The young protagonist, Stach (Tadeusz Łomnicki), is living in squalor on the outskirts of the city and carrying out wayward acts of theft and rebellion. After a friend is killed attempting to heist coal from a German supply train, he finds work as an apprentice at a furniture workshop, where he becomes involved in an underground communist resistance cell guided first by a friendly journeyman there who in turn introduces Stach to the beautiful Dorota (Urszula Modrzyńska). An outsider, Jasio Krone (Tadeusz Janczar), the temperamental son of an elderly veteran, is initially reluctant to join the struggle but finally commits himself, running relief operations in the Jewish ghetto during the uprising there.Read More »
In 1976, a young woman in Krakow is making her diploma film, looking behind the scenes at the life of a 1950s bricklayer, Birkut, who was briefly a proletariat hero, at how that heroism was created, and what became of him. She gets hold of outtakes and censored footage and interviews the man’s friends, ex-wife, and the filmmaker who made him a hero. A portrait of Birkut emerges: he believed in the workers’ revolution, in building housing for all, and his very virtues were his undoing. Her hard-driving style and the content of the film unnerve her supervisor, who kills the project with the excuse she’s over budget. Is there any way she can push the film to completion?Read More »
Nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1974, this follow-up to WITH FIRE AND SWORD is set in the 17th century during the Swedish invasion and occupation of Poland, known as The Deluge, which left the country in ruins.
Based on a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, Deluge follows the romance between a violent soldier and the young woman who tries to tame him.Read More »
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Blind Chance is a powerful political fable that provides an early glimpse at the unique style that would later lead to acclaimed international successes like the Three Colors Trilogy and The Double Life of Veronique. As with the later films, Kieslowski displays a deeply erotic, sensual sensibility and a warm humanism that inflects every facet of this complex film. He also shows signs of the spiritual outlook and interest in fate and overlapping chronologies that is especially prevalent in the films he’s best known for. Blind Chance begins with a brief, elliptical precis of the early life of Witek (Boguslaw Linda), starting with a few childhood scenes, his first love, his days in medical school, and finally the death of his father. Many of these earlier memories will later be shown to be false or at least incomplete, hazily remembered scenes from the distant past that have taken on iconic status in Witek’s mind even if the particulars aren’t quite accurate.Read More »