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2014 Polish Film Festival marks Poland’s move toward democracy

November 5, 2014
still from a movie with a man and woman dancing

The Mighty Angel runs during the Polish Film Festival on Sunday, November 9. 

The Skalny Center, a festival co-sponsor, celebrates its 20th anniversary

This year’s Polish Film Festival marks Eastern Europe’s move toward freedom, led, in part, by the Solidarity Trade Union that emerged from the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland.

The Polish Film Festival begins Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7:00 pm with Walesa: Man of Hope, the story of how iron worker Lech Walesa—the leader of Solidarity—guided millions of Poles from more than four decades of Communist rule, social upheaval and martial law, ultimately gaining the first free elections in the country’s history.

“The festival plays an important role in popularizing Polish culture, not only for people with Polish roots, but for the entire Rochester community and Upstate New York,” said festival organizer Bozena Sobolewska, administrative assistant at the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies.


Life Feels Good (to be shown Nov. 7 at 7:00 pm) is a heartbreaking and humorous story of a romantic, good-natured man with cerebral palsy who wants to be understood by his family and friends. The film has won numerous awards, including the Grand Prix, Public Award, and Ecumenical Prize at the International Film Festival in Montreal.


Venus in Fur (Nov. 8, 6:30 pm) is the latest film by master filmmaker Roman Polanski. It’s based on the Tony Award-winning play by David Ives about a writer-director who becomes obsessed with an actress who auditions for a part.


The Word (Nov. 8 at 8:30 pm) is a tale of manipulated revenge involving teenagers who are driven by their naïve passions. The film will be followed by a question-and-answer session with director Anna Kazejak.


The Mighty Angel (Nov. 9, 3:00 pm) is based on Jerzy Plich’s novel of the same name, which won the NIKE Literary Award in 2011. It’s the story of a writer and heavy drinker caught between hope and despair, when he finds salvation in the reciprocated love of a woman.


Ida (Nov. 9, 7:00 pm) is a film set in 1962 Poland. It’s the story of an orphan, named Anna, who discovers her Jewish identity shortly before taking her vows at a convent. The film explores both national and personal identity, as well as the need for belief in a bewildering world. The feature will be followed by a question-and-answer session with actress Agata Trzebuchowska.


The festival winds up with One Way Ticket to the Moon (Nov. 10, 7:00 pm), a tale of two brothers taking a road trip, as the older of the two prepares his sibling for service in the Polish navy.

This year’s Polish Film Festival launches Wednesday night with the 20th anniversary celebration of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, which organizes the annual festival. The Skalny Center, housed within the Department of Political Science at the University of Rochester, brings together students and faculty to study the historical legacy and the current transformations taking place within Central Europe.

The festival is sponsored and supported by the Skalny Center, the Polish Film Institute, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York, the Polish Filmmakers Association, and the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester. Films are shown with English subtitles and are screened at the Little Theatre. Tickets, which can be purchased at the Little Theatre box office, are $9 for regular admission and $7 for students and seniors. Little Theatre Film Society members receive their membership discount. For details, contact the Skalny Center at 585.275.9898.

The full schedule can be found at the web site for the Polish Film Festival Fall 2014.


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Category: The Arts

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