14th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival
The 14th KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival returns to the capital this April with an exciting programme bringing together an enticing mix of film, music, visual arts and design with screenings, interactive workshops, industry masterclasses, exhibitions, live performances and special guests showcasing the best of Polish film culture from the last twelve months. The festival is delighted to announce that this year’s programme focus celebrates the careers of three extraordinary Polish filmmakers; Jerzy Skolimowski, Agnieszka Holland and Andrzej Żuławski, each of whom has had a huge creative impact internationally, finding critical acclaim and success both at home and abroad, and who share a return to Poland for their most recent films.
KINOTEKA’s latest edition offers audiences at venues across London and the UK an opportunity to rediscover seminal works from these legendary directors on the big screen, plus premieres of their latest titles alongside unique in conversation filmmaker events. KINOTEKA is presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in London in partnership with Pola Arts Foundation and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. Venues already confirmed to participate in the 14th KINOTEKA programme include the BFI Southbank, ICA, Regent Street Cinema and the Barbican. Running from 7 to 29 April the full KINOTEKA programme will be announced in February, in the meantime highlights include:
One of Polish cinema’s most iconic figures, KINOTEKA is thrilled to present Jerzy Skolimowski’s latest film, 11 Minutes as this year’s Opening Night Gala (Barbican Cinema). Throughout his illustrious career Skolimowski has always been one to push boundaries, so hold on tight for this bold and innovative ride that takes viewers on a pulse-pounding cinematic journey. Focusing on eleven scintillating minutes in the lives of a variety of characters whose paths cross as they race towards an unexpected finale, 11 Minutes is an adventurous rollercoaster full of motion, emotion and suspense. Featuring an impressive ensemble cast, 11 Minutes succeeds in being an inventive metaphor for our modern hectic lives, driven by blind chance.
In honour of the director’s latest work, Barbican Cinema will host a special retrospective of three rarely screened classic Skolimowski titles: Barrier (1966), Moonlighting (1982) and The Shout (1978), illustrating his revolutionary approach and unique narrative style.
A former assistant to Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi, Agnieszka Holland has gone on to become one of Poland’s most eminent filmmakers and the most commercially successful Polish-born director since Roman Polański. Throughout her long and celebrated career she has managed to forge a creative path as an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, including the Golden Globe-winning Europa Europa and Oscar-nominated In Darkness, who has also shown that she is just as comfortable and adept at working in television, directing episodes for US networks including HBO and Netflix, on groundbreaking shows; The Wire, Treme, The Killing and House of Cards’
BFI Southbank presents a retrospective season of Holland’s essential films including screenings of Provincial Actors (1979), A Woman Alone (1981), Europa Europa (1990) and In Darkness (2011) alongside an in-conversation stage event to discuss her craft as well as a forum presenting her television work.
Regarded as one of Poland's most original and controversial directors who has made his career making films outside of Poland, Andrzej Żuławski will present the UK premiere of his latest film, Cosmos, his first film in fifteen years (ICA Cinema). Awarded the Best Direction prize at the 2015 Locarno Film Festival, the film, a metaphysical thriller, is a loose adaptation of Witold Gombrowicz’s surreal novel Cosmos. Hilarious, confounding and downright strange (in a good way), Żuławski fans will not be disappointed as the visionary director spins a mysterious web of erotic and psychological intrigue, bringing to mind both his earlier work, as well as David Lynch’s Inland Empire which similarly defies any simple explanation.
To celebrate Andrzej Żuławski’s triumphant return to the big screen, the ICA will screen a retrospective of the directors earlier work including a newly digital remastered copy of Żuławski’s Polish production, The Devil (1972) which was a victim of PRL censorship for sixteen years, That Most Important Thing: Love (1975) starring Romy Schneider as a struggling actress forced to act in erotic films, and cult body horror Possession (1981) starring Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani, whose unquestionably brilliant performance as the emotionally disturbed Anna won her both Best Actress at Cannes and a Cesar award.
The Regent Street Cinema plays host to KINOTEKA’s New Polish Cinema strand with a selection of both popular and critically successful contemporary Polish films from the last year. This year’s selection includes Małgorzata Szumowska’s thought-provoking Body. The film, which won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival and Golden Lion at the Gdynia Film Festival for Best Film, is a darkly comic meditation on grief and reconciliation, using the theme of the corporal and ethereal body to weave together the stories of three interconnected but radically different people attempting to deal with the loss of a loved one.
One of Poland’s most popular directors, Jacek Bromski returns to the festival with Anatomy of Evil, an engaging thriller about an aging mafia hit-man released from prison on parole who is assigned a mysterious assassination, but whom is physically unable to complete the task without help. Marcin Wrona’s atmospheric ghost story Demon, screens as a tribute to the late filmmaker who died suddenly during the Gdynia Film Festival last year. Itay Tiran give an impressively vivid yet understated performance as Piotr, a young man who journeys from England to marry his beloved Żaneta at her family’s country home in rural Poland. Complications arise when Piotr uncovers a human skeleton buried in the backyard of his newly inherited property and guests start to notice the groom’s increasingly bizarre behaviour.
In Dariusz Gajewski’s heart-stirring family drama Strange Heaven, Basia and Marek are a young immigrant couple living in Sweden. One innocent lie triggers an avalanche and their daughter is placed with a foster family by social services. So begins a dramatic fight with the cruel machine of bureaucracy to get their child back. Inspired by the true story of Tadeusz Szymków, Maciej Migas’s debut feature Life Must Go On features a phenomenal central performance from Tomasz Kot (Bogowie) as a feckless actor, suffering from alcoholism who discovers he has incurable cancer and only three months to live. He decides to turn his life around and most importantly reconnect with his daughter but is three months enough to fix all of life's mistakes?
Closing Night Gala
This year KINOTEKA will draw to a big band bang with the UK premiere of The Eccentrics. The Sunny Side Of The Street, veteran director Janusz Majewski’s tale of Poland’s swinging 50s. Jazz loving World War Two veteran Fabian returns to Poland from the UK with the unshakeable desire to launch his own swing band. He puts together an unlikely mishmash of players, including a leading lady whose background appears to be as much of a riddle as his own. But will the 'king and queen of swing', with their Hollywood lifestyles, handle the reality of 50s Poland and their burning desire to be a part of the West? Inspired by his own love of swing, Majewski’s film was awarded the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Gdynia Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a swing after-party in the nearby building of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland. With professional dance teachers and Polish jazz band Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet (who created the music for the film) playing live, this will be a night to remember.