Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 1, No 20
8 November 1999

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

1999 is nearing its end so it is a good opportunity to sum up the achievements of Polish cinema. After some problems throughout the last few years (financing, distribution, lack of interest from an audience preferring foreign productions), Polish films seem to be on the safe side now, especially if one looks at some recent films such as Pan Tadeusz, Ogniem i mieczem (see Kinoeye review) or Dlug.

The last accord of the film season was the Gdynia Film Festival, which ended last week and at which Dlug received first prize.

The following is an alphabetical list of Polish film premieres of 1999 with brief descriptions and ratings:

Ajlawiu (I Love You): Bad taste, obscene language, sex. Flop.

Billboard: Advertising agency employee tracking crime. Flop.

Cory szczescia (Daughters of Luck): Two Russian women, a mother and a daughter, become prostitutes in Poland. Flop (although better than the two previously listed films).

4 w 1 (4 in 1): A comedy about filmmaking. Not bad.

Dlug (Debt): Two businessmen, a gangster, money and moral dilemmas.Brilliant.

Egzekutor (Executor): A student performs euthanasia. Not bad.

Fuks (A Bit of Luck): Action comedy showing present-day Poland. Brilliant.

Jak narkotyk (Like a Drug): A poet with a failing heart. Was to be based on a true story, but the family concerned protested. Result: flop.

Kilerow 2-och (Two Killers): A sequel to the block-buster comedy. As is usually the case with sequels, not as good as part one.

Krugerandy: Four young men, provincial town, no future prospects. Flop.

Moja Angelika (My Angelica): A deserter tries to help his girlfriend who works in a brothel. Will he forgive her? Not bad.

Na koniec swiata (To the End of the World): Polish-Russian love story. Flop.

O dwoch takich co nic nie ukradli (Story of Two People Who Didn't Steal Anything): Again a provincial town, corrupt police. A tale of good and bad people living close together. Not bad.

Operacja 'Koza' (Operation Goat): A KGB agent and a Polish scientist switch personalities. Flop.

Operacja 'Samum' (Operation Samum): Action movie. Polish special forces help American agents in Iraq. Surprisingly, not bad.

Pan Tadeusz: Love story, Poland hopes for freedom, great portrayal of Polish character. Brilliant.

Prawo ojca (A Father's Right): A father avenges his daughter's death. American style but set against Polish reality. Good.

Sabina: A nurse takes care of a pregnant drug addict. Flop.

Torowisko (Railway Tracks): Pessimistic version of Cinderella. Provincial town (for the third time), two Cinderellas and no prince to fall in love with. Good.

Tydzien z zycia mezczyzny (A Week from Man's Life): Actor and director: Jerzy Stuhr. Difficult male-female relationships. Good.

Wojaczek: A film biography of a cult poet who committed suicide in 1971. Good.

Wrota Europy (Europe's Gates): January 1918, shortly before Polish-Soviet war. Young girls takes care of wounded soldiers. Good.

In other cultural news:

Jarocin town authorities approved plans to revive the famous Jarocin Rock Festival . The Festival, suspended for the last five years due to acts of violence that occurred in 1994, is to take place in July 2000. The event will acquire a new form: only the most popular bands will perform and the competition between amateur, alternative groups will (unfortunately) disappear.

Jerzy Dejmek's 55th anniversary of artistic activity was celebrated on 2 November. Dejmek is a theater director, most renowned for his 1968 adaptation of Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz's "Dziady," which caused a political scandal in then-Communist Poland.

An exhibition documenting achievements of Polish archaeologists in Egypt and Sudan will run until the end of December in Poznan. 1999 marks the 40th year that Polish archaeologists have been working in those countries. The exhibition, titled From the Sands of Nubia, summarizes 40 years of splendid archeological discoveries, such as unearthing a huge Christian civilization in Sudan or the frescos of Faras.

Wojtek Kosc, 7 November 1999



This week's theme Education

Teaching Morals in the Czech Republic

Hungarian University
in Romania

Educational Anxiety in Slovenia


Jan Culik:
Czech Disillusionment

Sam Vaknin:
The Myth of Greater
Albania (part 4)


Kuleshov's Velikii uteshitel'


and the EU


(Baltic news on holiday)


Yugoslav War Photography

Central European
Culture in the UK

Cultural Round-up from Poland


Penderecki Discovery


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