Once again, twenty-five years after the collapse of socialism, a new cinema rebellion in opposition to Hollywood conventions is taking place in Poland. But this time, the instigators of the movement are not professional filmmakers but rather those working in the realm of the plastic arts. Fine artists of many different stripes are choosing to express themselves through the medium of film and the moving image. Working outside their fields of expertise, they are creating an art movement in the domain of cinema. This movement is at once utterly new, and yet also historically linked to earlier transformations within Polish culture.
In concert with his article “Polish Cinema Art: The Search for Content,” published in the most recent issue of the Millennium Film Journal (MFJ No. 66), Andrzej Jachimczyk has curated this unique film program, which opens with Tadeusz Konwicki’s THE LAST DAY OF THE SUMMER (1957), a little-known film even in Poland, but pivotal as a foundation of the phenomenon traced by this program.
Today, perhaps unconsciously influenced by Konwicki’s film, Polish artists including Piotr Uklański, Zbigniew Libera, Wilhelm and Anka Sasnal, and Łukasz Ronduda, are crafting films intended for cinemas, but devoted to exploring something more than just entertainment. Their themes and forms of visual expression are deeply embedded in an unceasing quest for freshness of both form and content, to an extent that seems closer to the approach of painters, sculptors, performers, video artists, and experimental filmmakers than to other commercial filmmakers. Through feature-length films of Cine-Art – as they like to call this movement – Polish artists are discovering and appropriating narrative cinema as a new medium of limitless possibilities in their artistic pursuits.