18th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival, London 19 March - 5 April

The eighteenth edition of the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival runs from 19 March to 5 April in London. Kinoteka will showcase an exciting range of Polish cinema from new and established talents in film- and documentary-making, as well as films never before shown in the UK. The festival opens on 19 March with a gala presentation of Radioactive starring Rosamund Pike. The festival also highlights lesser known gems ripe for rediscovery and celebrates work influenced by Polish masters along with Q&As, talks, and free immersive VR experiences that push the boundaries of cinema as we know it.

The festival’s highlights include Mr Jones from one of Poland’s most eminent filmmakers Agnieszka Holland, Poland’s shortlisted entry for this year’s Best International Film Academy Award Corpus Christi from breakthrough talents screenwriter Mateusz Pacewicz and star Bartosz Bielenia, the silent classic Forbidden Paradise screened in its most complete version in almost one hundred years, and rare screenings of Ryszard Boleslawski’s Hollywood classics Theodora Goes Wild and The Garden of Allah,plus a VR journey through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, one of three distinct and captivating VR experiences hosted in the Regent Street Cinema foyer.

Many of the films screening at Kinoteka will feature insightful Q&As with the filmmakers and special guests.

OPENING NIGHT GALA

The festival opens with a gala screening of Radioactive, the stunning English-language adaptation of Lauren Redniss’s graphic novel detailing the life of pioneering Polish scientist Marie Skłodowska Curie, starring Rosamund Pike.

CLOSING NIGHT GALA

This special screening of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1924 silent film Forbidden Paradise is accompanied by an atmospheric live score by composer Marcin Pukaluk. This delightful melodrama features the great Polish star Pola Negri as Catherine the Great who amuses herself by seducing a handsome underling (Rod La Rocque), while her Chamberlain (Adolphe Menjou) keeps an eye on proceedings.

VR AT REGENT STREET CINEMA FOYER

From 19 to 22 March, the festival’s virtual reality hub will be open, free of charge to everyone, in the Regent Street Cinema’s foyer. Enter into captivating VR experiences including Maciek Szczerbowski’s Gymnasia which uses 3D 360-degree video, stop-motion animation, miniatures and CGI to place the viewer within the ghostly arena of lost childhood. Chernobyl allows the viewer to walk through the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the abandoned city of Pripyat to witness the lost future of thousands. With Warsaw Rising, witness the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 alongside the fighters of the Polish resistance trying to regain control of their city.

NEW POLISH CINEMA

Showcasing all that contemporary Polish cinema has to offer from thought-provoking biopics such as Michael Rosa’s Pilsudski and Michal Wegrzyn’s Proceder to the international co-production The Coldest Game, directed by Lukasz Kosmicki, starring Bill Pullman, Lotte Verbeek and Robert Wieckiewicz. Also featured are Jan Komasa’s acclaimed Corpus Christi and Małgorzata Imielska’s All for My Mother and the eerie The Other Lamb. Mister T, directed by Marcin Krzyształowicz, elegantly mixes post-war politics, vodka and basement jazz in a beautifully photographed look at the absurdities of the communist state. A family friendly screening of Tomasz Szafrański’s Rock 'n’ Roll Eddie is preceded by a fun music activity session hosted by the Museum of Cassettes for children of all ages to join in.

DOCUMENTARIES

Diverse, historical and contemporary portraits of Polish life are presented this year. Themes of isolation in a seemingly all-connected world are explored in Paweł Ziemilski’s In Touch. Japanese students’ struggle with learning the Polish language in Bobik Matiej’s Our Little Poland and there is a bold account of the romantic intimacy amidst the tragedy of the Warsaw Ghetto with Jolanta Dylewska’s Marek Edelman...and There was Love in the Ghetto.

RETROSPECTIVES

RYSZARD BOLESLAWSKI FOCUS AT THE REGENT STREET CINEMA

This Polish director arrived in the US in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Civil War and then Soviet Russia's war with Poland. He introduced Stanislavski’s ‘system’ of acting to America and went on to work alongside the stars of the classical era of Hollywood. Kinoteka presents rare screenings of two of his Hollywood classics from 1936 – Theodora Goes Wild starring Irene Dunne, and The Garden of Allah tarring Marlene Dietrich.

UNDISCOVERED MASTERS OF POLISH CINEMA AT THE ICA

The early short films of Polish documentarians Jerzy Hoffman and Edward Skorzewski, whose work kickstarted the ‘black series’ of Polish documentary films. Look Out Hooligans, The Children Accuse, Are You Among Them, Sopot, Calvary and Two Faces of God are among those films being presented.

THE TADEUSZ KANTOR LEGACY AT RICH MIX

An evening of film, conversation and performance dedicated to the cultural legacy of Tadeusz Kantor, Polish theatre director, set designer, painter, performer, art theoretician and teacher whose expressionistic and surreal work shaped contemporary theatre as we know it.

SPECIAL EVENTS

THE RETURN OF THE BIOPLEOGRAPH

In 2017 the National Centre for Film Culture in Łódź embarked on a project aiming to reconstruct one of the very first film cameras, the biopleograph, made by the father of Polish cinematography Kazimierz Prószyński in 1898. Based on scant notes and two photographs of the biopleograph, special effects artist Janusz Król achieved the unimaginable and created a fully functioning biopleograph.

Having finished work on the reconstruction, the project team commenced the next phase – the recreation of the first Polish film from 1902, The Return of the Reveller. In 2018, footage was shot using the biopleograph, a standard 35 mm film camera from 1908, and a digital camera. The reconstruction project, the device itself and the film are now presented to audiences in London.

You can view the official festival trailer here.

Look out for further coverage of the featival from The Digital Fix.

For further information and booking details, please visit the festival website.

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