Five Polish directors focus on the personal struggles of their characters in this year's selection of films for the annual Polish Film Festival from Nov. 18 to 22. Organized by the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester, the festival will screen a range of genres that sample Polish films at their best.
All five films from Poland with English subtitles will be presented at the Little Theatre, 240 East Ave. The festival will begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, with director Ryszard Zatorski's 2006 film Just Love Me (Tylko Mnie Kochaj).
Just Love Me is a romantic comedy about a young architect who appears to be in control of all aspects of his life. Everything changes, however, when he is introduced to three women who subsequently turn his quiet life upside down. The 96-minute film suggests that for true love, everything is worth risking.
The plot of Warsaw (Warszawa, 2003), the winner of five Golden Lion awards at the 2003 Festival of Polish Feature Films in Gdynia, is built around 24 hours in the lives of five people on a snowy day and night. The strangers at first walk by each other unnoticed, but then are brought together by a car accident. Director Dariusz Gajewski reveals their true identity and captures the sounds and feel of Poland's capital. The film will be shown at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19.
Felix Falk's Debt Collector (Komornik, 2005) is the recipient of many awards, including three Golden Lion awards, best screenplay at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Grand Prize at the Warsaw International Film Festival. The movie, which will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, documents two days in the life of provincial debt collector Lucek Bohme. Since Bohme is well-known in the Silesian town of Walbrzych, he holds great power. An unexpected incident turns out to have a lasting effect on him, and for the first time he begins to reevaluate his job and embarks on a journey in search of salvation.
Following Debt Collector will be The Crossway Café (Rozdroze Café, 2005), a 112-minute film from director Leszek Wosiewicz, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21. The movie follows a group of ambitious young Poles who commit a serious crime. Polish singer and songwriter Kasiz Staszewski narrates the film though his music about dubious people in search of true identity in a deceitful world.
The final film in the festival is Jerzy Stuhr's A Week in the Life of a Man (Tydzien Z Zycia Mezczyzny, 1998) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22. The 89-minute film follows a middle-aged prosecutor and the hate and death he deals with each week. The people in his court cases—from thieving smugglers to abandoned babies and murdered and battered victims of all kinds—seem to mirror his own inner conflicts. Stuhr's film was the recipient of two awards in Venice and Gdynia in 1999 and 10 nominations in Orzel in 2000.
For the 11th year, the festival will give Rochester audiences the chance to see films not previously distributed in the United States. Tickets are available directly at the theater. They can be purchased from the Little Theatre box office for $7 evenings, $5 matinees (with discounts for Little Theatre Film Society members).
The festival is sponsored by a grant from Rochester's Louis Skalny Foundation. For more information, contact the Skalny Center at (585) 275-9898. A list of the films and show times also is available on the Web at www.rochester.edu/college/psc/CPCES/program.html.