Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 4
31 January 2000

Cultural news from Poland C U L T U R E   R O U N D - U P:
Poland's Week in Culture

Wojtek Kosc

Welcome to another edition of Polish Culture Roundup. In this issue we take a look at who received the annual Kultura Foundation awards, briefly review one of the winning books, and try to see what's intresting in Piotr Weresniak's debut film.

In this week's overview of cultural events in Poland we have:

Click on the appropiate heading or just scroll down to browse.

Kultura Foundation Awards

This year's awards went to Stefan Chwin for the novel Esther (see review below), Piotr Mitzner for poem collection Myszoser and Joanna Pollakowna for essay collection Glina i swatlo (Clay and Light).

Piotr Mitzner's poetry is characterized by numerous metaphors, unusual endings and lingusitc experiments, all of which helps him to write disturbing poems creating atmosphere of restlessness.

Joanna Pollakowna's winning book is on the theme of art of painting and the role light plays in the process of creation. Light constitutes one end of the artistic continuum and clay (understood as eg oil paint which can be freely manipulated, clay-like) is positioned at the other. Both are essentially present in the paintings of the great masters like Titian or Vermeer.

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Book of the Week

Stefan Chwin
Tytul Publishing House, Gdansk 1999

Could Chwin be yet another - after Günther Grass and Pawel Huelle - Gdańsk writer? Much indicates so, even though his latest novel is not strictly based in Gdańsk, nor tells a story about this city. Esther is rather a mosaic narrative where readers will find pictures (or sometimes loose associations) of Gdańsk and Warsaw, Russia and Switzerland. They will find Nietzsche as well...

Among this well thought-of miscellany there is the eponymous heroine, a mysterious woman leaving marks of her presence on the novel's other, secondary heroes. Through her we can wonder at the belle époque of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and ask ourselves a question: who really is Esther? As in any good book, there is no definite answer.

The book is availible at www.merlin.com.pl

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Piotr Weresniak became famous in Poland after his work on the screenplay for Andrzej Wajda's Pan Tadeusz, and shortly afterwards when he won the Hartley-Merrill international screenplay competition.

No wonder then he finally attempted at directing his own movie. Zakochani (In Love) is a story of Zosia and Mateusz who fall in love with each other but do not want to admit it because until their meeting they treated feelings instrumentally: Zosia hunted for rich men but never slept with them, Mateusz took care of slightly older, wealthy women.

The film, which is nothing more than light-hearted romantic comedy leaves an impression of being underdone - the plot is not really intriguing, and the psychology is lame. The choice of actors may raise some eyebrows, too. In short, if you have some spare time, go and se it, but do not be surprised if you later conclude that you should have done something more positive.

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Compiled by Wojtek Kosc




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