Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 7
21 February 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 Kość

Welcome to another edition of the Polish culture round-up. This week features concise news and reviews and some cultural announcements for the near and more distant future. Our Book of the Week is Czesław Miłosz's Wyprawa w dwudziestolecie.

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

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


A new production Stanisław Wyspiański's drama Wesele (A Wedding) had its premiere in the National Theater in Warsaw recently. Wesele, as one of the chief works of Polish theater (1901) and a national drama, has always sparked countrywide discussions whether or not it accurately describes the so-called Polish national character with all its vices.

Productions of the play, which gives directors much room for interpretations, are invariably controversial. This year's Wesele was directed by Jerzy Grzegorzewski who, according to many reviewers, lived up to the contemporary condition of Polish reality and gave Wesele a thoroughly modern interpretation. For all those who wish to see it in Warsaw, there is a sad news: tickets are sold out until the end of March.

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Cultural Announcements

From 18 February to 26 February, in Wrocław, music lovers will have an opportunity to listen to Polish contemporary music at the Musica Polonica Nova festival. For more information call: 0048 71 343 85 28 or 342 20 01.

An independent film festival, called Film Poza Kinem (Film Off Cinema), will take place on 16 to 19 November 2000, in Wrocław. All those interested in trying their luck at filmmaking can send their works by June this year. Films cannot exceed 40 minutes.

The Polish music industry awards ceremony is to take place on 1 April this year and the nomination list was revealed on 15 February. Kayah and Goran Bregović (a Polish-Yugoslavian duo, and this year's best-selling album in Poland) received six nominations each. Other hot tips might be rock bands O N A and Myslovitz and vocalist Anna Maria Jopek. The awards, named Fryderyki after Fryderyk Chopin, are given by artists previously awarded the prize and music journalists and critics.

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Book of the Week

Czesław Miłosz
Wyprawa w dwudziestolecie

(A Journey in Between Wars)
Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1999

The latest book of Miłosz, a poet, writer, literature historian and a lecturer at Berkeley University, brings the readers to the times of the Author's youth and, as he puts it, his "formative years." Its title, which can be very lamely translated as A Journey in Between Wars (the Polish word "dwudziestolecie" means the period from 1918 to 1939 and is commonly used when referring to it, literally it means "a period of two decades"), has a strong appeal to all those who happened to grow up at that time but also those interested in the troubled history of that time. Miłosz surprised many readers, however.

While nowadays in Poland there is a strong tendency to idealize the short-lived Polish independence years with Marshal Piłsudski as the main figure, Miłosz gives a more realistic picture. First of all, Wyprawa... does not contain typical memories or historic prose. Its main asset lies in that Miłosz gives the readers a bit of the real taste of that time by compiling authentic texts from those years. He only gives short comments and explanations in between them. Thus we can read numerous newspaper articles, appeals and addresses, polemics and reportage from which there often lurks a not-so-bright picture of Poland before it was invaded by Hitler. Poverty, minority problems, Jews and illiteracy are all featured - although they are aspects not much talked about now, as if in a reaction to Communist times' reproachful tone when referring to Poland after 1918. Wyprawa... is a must for all those interested in Polish history as well as for those wanting to see human fates amidst turbulent times.

Wyprawa w dwudziestolecie can be found here.

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Compiled by Wojtek Kość




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