Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema at Northwest Film Forum: Jul 7 - 11

Next week Northwest Film Forum hosts Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema! Rare screenings of what looks to be a stunning series of 21 films representing the experimentation, style, innovation, substance and form of the Polish Film School of the 1950's-60's and the later films they influenced. Curated by Scorsese these new 4K digital restorations, in many cases assembled from multiple prints of the original negatives, involving hundreds of thousands of manually retouched stills, weeks of painstaking work and terabytes of data. The first series of 8 of the 21 presented in collaboration with the Polish Film Festival features Jerzy Kawalerowicz's hypercolorful historic epic, "Pharaoh" and austere religious horror-tragedy, "Mother Joan of Angels", Tadeusz Konwicki's oblique political comedy, "Jump", Aleksander Ford's medieval epic of resistance against the invading Order of the Teutonic Knights, "Black Cross", Andrzej Wajda's suggestively supernatural, pagan 19th Century pageant, "The Wedding", Wojciech J. Has haunting and surrealist meditation on the Holocaust, time and death adapted from Bruno Schulz's themes of magic, dreams and decay, "Hourglass Sanatorium",  Krzysztof Zanussi's scathing satire of cloistered academic conformity and the intelligentsia status-quo, "Camouflage" and Andrzej Munk's highly regarded Neorealist, absurdist depiction of heroism in the failed September Campaign against the invading German army, "Eroica". With a second round of 8 films scheduled for the Fall calendar including the two in the series I'm most anticipating, Andrzej Wadja's stunning allegorical, political Noir, "Ashes and Diamonds" and the Swashbuckling Alchemical Surrealist classic, (there are too few opportunities to use those three words in succession), Wojciech Jerzego's "The Saragossa Manuscript". Digging deeper, NPR hosts an interview discussing Scorsese's time at The Polish National Film, Television, and Theatre School in Łódź, the genesis of the series and restoration project and many of the film's shared themes of tragedy, resilience, comedy, "Martin Scorsese Takes Poland's Communist-Era Art Films On The Road" and Max Nelson's "Rep Diary: Scorsese’s Masterpieces of Polish Cinema" coverage at Film Comment during the series' premier screening at Lincoln Center earlier this year.