Monday, June 13, 2011

Cleveland Cinematheque to present six Polish films by Jerzy Skolimowski

Six movies by major contemporary Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimwoski will be shown between June 30 and July 17 at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard in University Circle, telephone (216) 421-7450, The series “Jerzy Skolimowski: Polish Films” consists of all six of the director’s Polish-language films, which were made at both ends of his career—the first four as a recent film school grad in the 1960s, the last two (his most recent movies) as a veteran filmmaker who had lived and worked internationally for almost 40 years, returning to his native Poland just a few years ago after a 17-year hiatus as a film director. All six movies will be shown in 35mm film prints from Poland.

Skolimowski (b. 1938) was a poet, jazz musician, and boxer who broke into Poland’s film industry by co-writing and co-starring in Andrzej Wajda’s 1960 film Innocent Sorcerers, a portrait of Poland’s disaffected young people. Enrolling at the famed Łódź Film School with Wajda’s help, Skolimowski also co-wrote the screenplay for KNIFE IN THE WATER (1962), the first feature by schoolmate Roman Polanski. While at Łódź, Skolimowski managed to direct four school film projects that became his first feature, IDENTIFICATION MARKS: NONE (1964), starring himself. This movie, with its stylized, subjective camera work and cynical attitude toward Poland’s older generations, signaled the arrival of a bold, disenchanted new talent. Three other Polish features followed (he acted in two of those as well), but the last one, the anti-Stalinist dream play Hands Up!, was banned by Polish authorities. (It stayed banned for 15 years!) This prompted Skolimowski to move to England, where he directed his two best-known works, DEEP END and MOONLIGHTING.  Relocating to the U.S. a little later (where he lived for well over a decade), he continued to make non-Polish-language movies in various countries. But in 1991 he stopped directing altogether, although he continued acting in such films as David Cronenberg’s EASTERN PROMISES (2007).

Skolimowski’s filmmaking moratorium lasted 17 years. In 2008 he returned to Poland and to make his first Polish-language Polish film since Hands Up!, Four Nights with Anna, which was acclaimed at festivals around the world.  His next film was also a Polish production, ESSENTIAL KILLING (2010), which stars Vincent Gallo and won Polish Film Awards for Best Film and Best Director. The Cinematheque series will open with showings of ESSENTIAL KILLING on June 30 and July 1. On June 30 the film will be introduced by Joanna Trzeciak, Assistant Professor in the department of Modern and Classical Language Studies at Kent State University, and followed by a reception (open to all ticket holders) organized by the Polish American Cultural Center.

Admission to each film is $9; Cinematheque members and those with a Cleveland Institute of Art I.D. $7; anyone 25 & under $5. A second film on the same day costs an additional $5. All films will show in the CIA’s Russell B. Aitken Auditorium. Free parking for filmgoers in available in the adjacent CIA lot.

“Jerzy Skolimowski: Polish Films” is presented in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute in New York (Natalia Babinski). Additional support comes from the Polish National Film Archive (Helena Damętka), the Polish Film Institute (Izabela Zylicz), and Skopia Film (Ewa Piaskowa). The Cleveland showing is presented with major support from Eugene J. Trela and the Polish American Cultural Center, with additional support from The Cleveland Society of Poles and Eugene Bak.

June 30 – July 17  (6 films)

THU       6/30       7:00 PM                ESSENTIAL KILLING introduced by Joanna Trzeciak
FRI          7/1         9:55 PM                ESSENTIAL KILLING
THU       7/7         8:15 PM                IDENTIFICATION MARKS: NONE
FRI          7/8         9:15 PM                FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA
SAT        7/9         5:30 PM                WALKOVER
SAT        7/9         7:10 PM                FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA
THU       7/14       8:00 PM                BARRIER
SUN       7/17       3:00 PM                HANDS UP!

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