University of Rochester

EVENT: 2000 Polish Film Festival, Sponsored by the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: Friday, Nov. 10, through Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Little Theatre, 240 East Ave.

ADMISSION: All tickets are available at the Little box office; $6.50 for evening showings, $4.50 for matinees. The festival's opening film, Pan Tadeusz, directed by Andrzej Wajda, is $12.

October 26, 2000

Seven films by the grand master of the Polish cinema, Andrzej Wajda, will be the highlight of this year's Polish Film Festival from Friday, Nov. 10, through Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Little Theatre. Honored in March by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an Oscar for his achievements as a director, Wajda is revered for films that capture the essence of Polish themes from history to religion.

Now in its fifth year, the festival is sponsored by a generous grant from the Louis Skalny Foundation and is organized by the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester. All films, originally in Polish and with English subtitles, will be shown at the Little Theatre at 240 East Ave.

The festival begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, with the latest Wajda film, Pan Tadeusz (1999), which is considered a brilliant cinematic adaptation of the masterpiece of Polish epic poetry, "Pan Tadeusz," written by the bard of Polish romantic patriotism, Adam Mickiewicz. The film is a saga of the daily life of Polish nobility and the longing for liberation by the armies of Napoleon. Tickets for the first-ever showing in Rochester are $12. Pan Tadeusz will be screened again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12.

Also on Nov. 11, at 2 p.m., Wajda's The Shadow Line (Smuga Cienia 1976) tells Joseph Conrad's maritime story of a junior Polish-born officer who suddenly becomes captain of the ship. The adaptation brings the famous English-language author back to Poland and turns the hero into Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski, as he is known in Poland.

The first of four new films by other Polish directors will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13. Operation Goat (Operacja Koza 1999), directed by Konrad Szolajski, is a comedy about Polish and Russian intelligence officers switching personalities as they attempt to discover secret information.

Later that evening, two more Wajda films will be shown beginning at 9 p.m.: Roly Poly (Przekladaniec 1968), a medical fantasy about organ transplants, and Everything for Sale (Wszystko na Sprzedaz 1968), considered one of Wajda's best films where actors play themselves in real life for a story about passion and desire.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease (Zycie Jako Smiertelna Choroba Przenoszona Droga Plciowa 2000) by Krzysztof Zannussi unfolds as a psychological drama about a 60-year-old physician facing a terminal disease and how he feels about the meaning of life. At 9 p.m., Samson (1961), another Wajda film with a literary base, develops the story of a young Jewish man who leaves prison in 1939 and later flees the Warsaw Ghetto, only to return and work in the underground.

Boys Don't Cry (Chlopaki nie Placza 1999), considered an impressive Polish action-comedy, will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15. The plot involves the adventures of two college students who become enmeshed in organized crime and prostitution. This is the second film directed by Olaf Lubaszonko, whose work as an actor is well known. At 9 p.m., Andrzej Wajda's Birchwood (Brzezina 1970) with a sentimental and timeless quality about basic human themes of love and death will be shown.

The festival will end Thursday, Nov. 16, with two films: Debt (Dlug 1999) by director Krzysztof Krauze about murder, torture and revenge set in post-communist Poland at 7 p.m., and Wedding (Wesele 1973) by Andrzej Wajda at 9 p.m. This film by Wajda adapts a 1905 literary work by Krakow's legendary artist, Stanislaw Wyspianski, and builds patriotic themes into the wedding of a leading intellectual and a young peasant woman.

Except for Pan Tadeusz, all films in the festival are $6.50 for evening showings and $4.50 for matinees. An addition to this year's festival is the Rochester Polish-American Invitational Art Exhibit, which will be on display in the Little Theatre Café Gallery from Oct. 23 to Dec. 9. A reception for the artists is open to the public and will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15.

For more information about the festival, call (585) 275-9898.