Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the schedule for Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema, a 21-film series created and organized by Scorsese’s non-profit organization, The Film Foundation in partnership with Propaganda Foundation, DI Factory and CRF, distributed by Milestone Films in cooperation with Janus, featuring classic works from some of Poland’s most accomplished and lauded filmmakers, spanning the period from 1957–1987. Curated by Scorsese from a selection of new digital restorations, the series premieres at the Film Society, February 5-16, and will travel to 30 cities this year. Each film will be presented in brilliantly re-mastered and newly subtitled DCPs.

Highlights include the Opening Night presentation of Andrzej Wajda’s Palme d’Or winner and Academy Award-nominee MAN OF IRON (1981) about the workers’ strike in Gdańsk that led to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and Krzysztof Zanussi’s CAMOUFLAGE (1976), a comic story of a contentious relationship between a young linguist and an associate professor; Alexander Ford’s BLACK CROSS (1960), a blockbuster (and the most-viewed Polish film in history) set against a backdrop of medieval battles; Wojciech Has’s mystical film adaptation of THE SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT (1964), a prize-winner at the Edinburgh and San Sebastian film festivals; Andrzej Munk’s EROICA (1957), a look at the contrast in lives between that of a street-wise bon-vivant and those of righteous Polish officers incarcerated in a German camp during WWII; and Zanussi’s 70s philosophical essay on film incorporating animation, experimental techniques and documentary footage, THE ILLUMINATION (1972).

The genesis of Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema began in December 2011 when Scorsese received an honorary doctoral degree from The Polish National Film, Television, and Theatre School in Łódź, Poland. While there Scorsese met with the Polish organizer of the series, Jędrzej Sabliński—a digital restoration expert now with DI Factory, which provides data processing to motion picture studios and filmmakers. They both discussed the progress of digital film restoration in Poland and how The Film Foundation could help. In the months following his visit, the idea of a North American tour of a series of restored Polish classics came together, with 21 titles selected by Scorsese from the list of digitally restored films.

FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

Opening Night Selections
CAMOUFLAGE (Barwy ochronne) (1976) 101 min
Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
Country: Poland
The shallowness and cynicism of the academic milieu and the hypocrisy of idealism are depicted in the relationship between a young linguist and a diabolical associate professor. A universal story by one of the most renowned contemporary Polish directors.
Wednesday, February 5 at 6:00PM – Director Krzysztof Zanussi will attend the screening
Friday, February 7 at 7:30PM

Man of IronMAN OF IRON (Człowiek z żelaza) (1981) 153 min
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Country: Poland
Wajda’s Palme d’Or-winning, Oscar-nominated masterpiece follows the workers’ strike in Gdańsk in August 1980 that led to the formation of the Solidarity trade union.
Wednesday, February 5 at 8:30PM

ASHES AND DIAMONDS (Popiół i diament) (1958) 103 min
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Country: Poland
At the end of WWII, a young Polish resistance soldier reaches a crossroads when Nazi rule is replaced by a communist regime that is not what he and his compatriots have been fighting for.
Sunday, February 9 at 6:45PM

AUSTERIA (1982) 107 min
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Country: Poland
On the first night of WWI, refugees seek sanctuary from the Russian army in a country inn owned by a Jewish family in this intimate drama set against the turbulence of history.
Sunday, February 16 at 9:00PM

BLACK CROSS (Krzyżacy) (1960) 173 min
Director: Aleksander Ford
Country: Poland
In this historical blockbuster, the tragic love of Zbyszko and Danusia plays out amidst the Polish-German conflict that lead to the battle of Grunwald.
Monday, February 10 at 8:00PM

BLIND CHANCE (Przypadek) (1981) 123 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Country: Poland
Kieślowski explores the autonomy of human choices by presenting three alternative versions of the life of 20-year old Witek, whose whole future depends on whether he can catch a train.
Friday, February 14 at 9:30PM
Sunday, February 16 at 2:00PM

THE CONSTANT FACTOR (Constans) (1980) 91 min
Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
Country: Poland
A young man who dreams of climbing the Himalayas finds himself compromising his ideals when he takes a job at an international trade company in Zanussi’s award-winning Cannes hit.
Tuesday, February 11 at 9:15PM
Saturday, February 15 at 9:00PM

EroicaEROICA (1957) 85 min
Director: Andrzej Munk
Country: Poland
Munk contrasts the absurd life of a street-wise bon-vivant with a somber picture of righteous Polish officers incarcerated in a German camp in his ambiguous two-part wartime symphony.
Friday, February 7 at 9:45PM

THE HOUR-GLASS SANATORIUM (Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą) (1973) 124 min
Director: Wojciech Has
Country: Poland
Holocaust themes augment this adaptation of Jewish author Bruno Schulz’s visionary and poetic reflection on the nature of time and death, which won the Jury Award at Cannes.
Friday, Feb 14 at 7:00PM
Sunday, Feb 16 at 4:30PM

THE ILLUMINATION (Iluminacja) (1972) 93 min
Director: Krzysztof Zanussi
Country: USA
One of the most interesting works of 1970s Polish cinema. A young provincial man comes to the capital to study physics and must tackle life’s universal questions in this philosophical essay comprising animation, experimental methods and documentary footage.
Friday, February 7 at 2:30PM
Thursday, February 13 at 6:30PM

INNOCENT SORCERERS (Niewinni czarodzieje) (1960) 88 min
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Country: Poland
In 1950s Poland, two young people meet in a bar and go from small talk to bed, but as dawn approaches what seemed to be a meaningless episode in their lives gets more complicated.
Sunday, Feb 16 at 7:00PM

JUMP (Salto) (1965) 105 min
Director: Tadeusz Konwicki
Country: Poland
In this Polish Western, a man on the run seeks refuge in a ghost town halfway between dream and reality, whose desperate inhabitants can’t decide if he’s a prophet or a common liar.
Sunday, February 9 at 9:00PM

THE LAST DAY OF SUMMER (Ostatni dzień lata) (1958) 62 min
Director: Tadeusz Konwicki
Country: Poland
A man and a woman who cannot communicate meet on an empty beach in this subtle tale of a confrontation of two lonely people from which a true closeness cannot result. The film was awarded the Grand Prix in Venice for documentary and short films, as well as the Grand Prix of the EXPO in Brussels and the First Prize of MFF in London.
Monday, Feb 10 at 6:30PM

Mother Joan of the AngelsMOTHER JOAN OF THE ANGELS (Matka Joanna od Aniołów) (1960) 110 min
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Country: Poland
A young, virtuous exorcist is sent to a mysterious monastery inhabited by beautiful nuns who are said to be possessed by demons in this thrilling and philosophical portrait of human vice.
Saturday, February 8 at 9:00PM
Tuesday, February 11 at 7:00PM


NIGHT TRAIN (Pociąg)
(1959) 98 min
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Country: Poland
A subtle game of emotions between two travelers—changing from mutual aversion to closeness without hope of a future—plays out amidst the human microcosm of a night train.
Sunday, February 9 at 4:30PM

PHARAOH (Faraon) (1965) 152 min
Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Country: Poland
This epic production, complete with huge battle scenes and stunningly choreographed musical pieces, focuses on a young Ramses XIII as he takes over rule of the ancient Egyptian empire.
Friday, February 7 at 4:30PM
Sunday, February 9 at 1:00PM

THE PROMISED LAND (Ziemia Obiecana) (1974) 170 min
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Country: Poland
Wajda’s fascinating portrait of the industrial city of Lodz during the birth of gritty 19th century capitalism is also a tale of the strength of masculine friendship.
Saturday, February 15 at 1:30PM

THE SARAGOSSA MANUSCRIPT (Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie) (1964) 183 min
Director: Wojciech Has
Country: Poland
Based on one of the greatest works of world literature, a mountain-crossing turns into a sequence of supernatural and frightful events for the skeptical Alphonse van Worden.
Wednesday, February 5 at 2:00PM
Saturday, February 8 at 5:30PM

A Short Film About KillingA SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING (Krótki film o zabijaniu) (1987) 86 min
Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Country: Poland
The paths of three men—a cabbie, a lawyer, and a killer—cross on a somber March day in this psychological and ethical study of murder that launched Kieślowski’s international career.
Thursday, February 13 at 8:30PM

TO KILL THIS LOVE (Trzeba zabić tę miłość) (1972) 92 min
Director: Janusz Morgenstern
Country: Poland
As Neil Armstrong lands on the moon, two young Poles kept out of university by communist quotas discover love and life in a big city, dreaming of an independence they cannot enjoy.
Saturday, February 15 at 7:00PM

THE WEDDING (Wesele) (1972) 107 min
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Country: Poland
Characters from all walks of life come together at a 19th century wedding party and things take a turn for the uncanny when ghosts from their pasts mingle with the joyful celebrations.
Saturday, February 15 at 4:45PM

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