Sunday, September 28, 2014

Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema at Northwest Film Forum: Oct 5 - 9 | Seattle Polish Film Festival at SIFF Cinema: Oct 10 - 19

After the exceptional program this past July, Northwest Film Forum hosts the second half of Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema. This 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. This second batch of 7 of the 21 films presented in collaboration with the Seattle Polish Film Festival running the following week at SIFF Cinema.

Notably the series plays host to Krzysztof Zanussi at The Scarecrow Video October 9 for a Q&A session from 4-5:30pm before presenting his "The Illumination" at NWFF and again in-person for the screening of "The Constant Factor" at SIFF Cinema the following night. The five day program also includes Andrzej Wajda's Palme d'Or winning tale of the Polish solidarity movement, hybridized with real footage of the strikes, "Man of Iron". The swashbucking, kabballistic, comedic, surrealist-puzzlework adventure of Wojciech J. Has', "The Saragossa Manuscript". Poland's great humanist director of the following generation, Krzysztof Kieślowski and his tale of synchronicity and lives intersecting, "Blind Chance" and film that contributed to the overturning of the death sentence on Poland, and later became a pivotal aspect of his groundbreaking "Dekalog" series, "A Short Film About Killing". Jerzy Kawalerowicz's own story of lives intersecting, brought together enroute to an isolated village by his "Night Train". And Andrzej Wajda's pivotal "Ashes and Diamonds", the film that more than any other came to define the movement with it's tough-as-grit protagonist caught between the retreating Germans and the coming Russian occupation, allegorical as it is political, Noir as it is Neorealist, a film that depicts a Europe in ruin, both geographic and existential.

Digging deeper there's an abundance of reading available on Andrzej Wadja's cool as ice political Noir, "Ashes and Diamonds" and the swashbuckling Alchemical surrealist adventure, (there are too few opportunities to use those three words in succession) of Wojciech Jerzego's "The Saragossa Manuscript". On the series itself, 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.