Returning to the capital for a 12th successful year, the KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival for a bumper month long edition (24th April – 30th May), bringing audiences across London and the UK, celebrating the best of Polish Cinema, music and visual arts.

This year’s programme offers an inspiring, diverse choice of screenings, including UK premieres, exhibitions, concerts, interactive workshops and masterclasses.

KINOTEKA is presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in association with the festival sponsor, MyFerryLink and supported by the Polish Film Institute and the National Film Archive.

Venues already confirmed to participate in the 12th KINOTEKA programme include the Barbican, Riverside Studios, BFI Southbank, ICA, The National Gallery, Dalston’s Café Oto and Islington’s Union Chapel.


KINOTEKA 2014 Highlights Include:


Walerian Borowczyk Retrospective – Cinema of Desire

The work of artist and filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk forms the backbone of this year’s festival programme with a major retrospective celebrating his prolific body of work focusing on his artwork, early shorts, ground breaking animation and live-action features, many of which have been rarely or previously unseen in the UK. Born in Poland in 1923, where he studied painting and sculpture before establishing himself as a poster artist during the late 1950s, Borowczyk emigrated to France in 1959. He effortlessly moved from dazzling short animations to live-action features such as The Beast (1975), making a name as an international talent. He lived and worked in France for the rest of his life.

With the utmost attention to sights, sounds and textures, Borowczyk’s remarkable cinematic fables of desire are truly astonishing works of art, rooted in his belief that artists should be able to work in complete freedom. His innovative approach inspired a generation of filmmakers including Terry Gilliam and the Quay Brothers. KINOTEKA is delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Borowczyk’s unbridled and unique creativity, described by film critic and historian David Thomson as “one of the major artists of modern cinema, (and) arguably the finest talent that East Europe has provided”.

The Walerian Borowczyk retrospective programme and events, developed in collaboration with Daniel Bird, runs at BFI Southbank throughout May and the ICA, including a display of his work in the ICA Reading Room, from 20 May. KINOTEKA’s retrospective offers audiences a chance to view Borowczyk’s filmography afresh as a whole – with his works, encompassing animation, live action, iconography and sexuality, contributing grounds to reclaim his position as a titan of world cinema.

Arrow Films are restoring nine of Borowczyk’s short films and two feature films including his classic Goto, Island of Love (1969) and Blanche (1971) to be released by Arrow Films as a Walerian Borowczyk box set in late Spring. In addition Arrow Films has collaborated with Argos Films, Paris, to release two other Borowczyk films, Immoral Tales (1974) and The Beast (1975) in newly restored high definition transfers, as well as five more short films to be screened at KINOTEKA.


Opening Night Gala

KINOTEKA opens at the Riverside Studios on 24th April, with the Opening Night Gala of the award winning Papusza, a biography of the rise and fall of Polish-Gypsy poetess Bronislawa Wajs, widely known as Papusza (1908-1987), and her relationship with her discoverer, writer Jerzy Ficowski. Directors Joanna Kos-Krauze & Krzysztof Krauze (Saviour SquareThe Debt)’s film premiered at Karlovy Vary and is an insightful portrait of the Polish Roma community and of a way of life pushed to the margins of society. Joanna Kos-Krauze and the film’s star Jowita Budnik will be taking part in a Q&A after the special event.


New Polish Cinema

The Riverside Studios play host to KINOTEKA’s popular New Polish Cinema strand, delivering a consistently strong selection of Polish films from the last year, boasting critical and box office successes. Traffic Department the highest grossing Polish film of 2013 is an action packed, breakneck paced tale of sleaze and corruption in a Warsaw police department. Wojciech Smarzowski (RoseThe Dark House)’s fourth film nails down his position in the front rank of European writer-directors working today. Set in the traffic division where alcohol, drugs, sex and bribery are the norm, one policeman (Bartlomiej Topa) doesn’t know where to turn when he is falsely accused of murdering a fellow officer. As the conspiracy grows bigger it’s obvious that somebody will have to pay the price. The ensemble cast, is rock-solid.

Topa’s co-star Marcin Dorocinski also features in Loving and Jack Strong screening at the Festival. In Loving, a couple’s relationship is put to the test after an emotional and physical trauma. Jack Strong has been described as the Polish James Bond. Based on historical fact, this spy thriller set against the backdrop of Poland behind the Iron Curtain, sees Marcin Dorocinski as the title character who dared to make a stand and challenge the Soviets, forging an unprecedented co-operation with the CIA.

Maciej Pieprzyca’s Life Feels Good, swept the jury, audience and ecumenical prizes at the Montreal Film Festival. An uplifting tribute to the human spirit, this truth-inspired biopic about a man with cerebral palsy struggling to communicate to those around him is an entertaining film, brilliantly acted by non-disabled performers, the film captures as much wonderment as frustration and is filled with fully fleshed-out characters.

Acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski will present his highly anticipated and multi-award winning new film Ida, at a special centrepiece gala screening at the Barbican ahead of its UK release later this year. Pawlikowski’s latest film is a poetic, almost Bressonian exploration of the limits of faith following the story of Anna, a young novice in rural 1960s Poland, who discovers a dark family secret on the verge of taking her vows. Exquisitely composed and shot in luminescent black and white, Ida won Best Film at the London Film Festival.


Sex behind the Iron Curtain

Sex in the Socialist Republic of Poland is a fascinating and insightful look at sex behind the Iron Curtain with a programme of Polish animation shorts from the Communist period, thematically linked around sex with works by Julian Józef Antoniusz, Andrzej Czeczot, Piotr Dumała and Alexander Sroczyński amongst others, organised in partnership with the London International Animation Festival.


Art & Design Trailblazers

Riverside Studios will showcase an exhibition of poster designed by Henryk Tomaszewski, one of the founding fathers of the classic Polish School of Posters. The exhibition in London is a satellite event being held concurrently with a major retrospective exhibition of his work in Poland curated by Agnieszka Szewczyk,  Zachęta – National Galllery of Art in Warsaw (14th March – 10th June).

A distinguished and leading light, in both visual arts and filmmaking, award-winning artist Lech Majewski returns to the National Gallery to premiere his latest project, Field of Dogs, the follow up to his multi-layered visual tapestry, The Mill and The Cross, inspired by Pietr Bruegel’s Way To Calvary, which screened to a sold out audience at Kinoteka in 2012 and which featured in his moving image installation, Moving Walls at London’s Wapping Project. In Field of Dogs a father ploughs a supermarket with oxen, the plough ripping the tiles; Niagara falls onto a cathedral altar. These are visions of Adam, a poet who has lost his beloved in a car crash, and who gives up his job as professor of literature to work at a supermarket. Set in 2010, the year of the plane crash in Russia that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski, a national tragedy imposes on a personal one.

Innovative Polish artist and poster designer Tomasz Opasinski who created last year’s poster has been re-commissioned to design this year’s poster inspired by the films of Walerian Borowczyk. His artwork will be unveiled at the KINOTEKA press launch in March.


A Musical Soundtrack

Acclaimed composer, saxophonist and clarinettist, Mikolaj Trzaska appears at Café Oto on 10th May for “Trzaska Talks Movies”, leading an international quintet playing songs from the soundtracks to the outstanding films of Wojciech Smarzowski including RoseThe Dark House, and Traffic Department. Trzaska is one of the most important figures in the Polish jazz scene in the broadest sense. One of the creators of the revolutionary Polish form of jazz called yass, he has been working with Wojciech Smarzowski for many years. His soundtracks have received exceptional recognition, both from fans and from music critics alike. Trzaska has also created music for a number of documentaries, including Iwona Bartólewska’s A Letter to My Son.


Closing Night Gala

KINOTEKA’S Closing Night Concert event takes place at the Union Chapel on 30th May. Produced by the Barbican, the concert will premiere two short films by the Quay BrothersIn Absentia and Kwartet Smyczkovy, taking existing musical compositions for their inspiration. In Absentia directly responds to Stockhausen’s electronic composition Two Couples (1992/1999). The hypnotic visual language of the film and fragmented mode of narrative intensifies the associative power of the music like an additional, visual voice in the polyvocal texture. Kwartet Smyczkovy – Paraphrase on Peter Handke’s ‘The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other’ – is based on Lutosławski’s only string quartet, composed in 1964. The Quay Brothers react to the melodic superimpositions and flickering micro-rhythms of the composition with stark and eerie twi-lit images. The Arditti Quartet will be performing these pieces live, in dialogue with the projection and will also perform Alban Berg’s Lyrische Suite, between the films, understood as an aural ‘film’ for the ears. The concert closes with a live performance by Skalpel; Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo, a Polish DJ/producer duo from Wroclaw. Skalpel’s trademark is sampling Polish jazz of the 1960s and 1970s, constructing their own original vision of contemporary sound, combining jazz, hip hop and club music. The duo will present their unique interpretation of Lutosławski and Panufnik’s music to mark these famous composers’ joint centenary year (1913-1914).


The full KINOTEKA Programme will be announced at the press launch on 20th March.

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