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Polish Lives: Documentary Shorts II

Ongoing

Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski. (Program duration: 110 mins. Various formats.)

From the City of Lodz (Z miasta Lodzi) 1969, 18 mins. Kieslowski’s Lodz Film School thesis film offers impressions of a city of former glory now dominated by the textile industry. “A portrait of a town where some people work, others roam around in search of Lord knows what… A town which is full of eccentricities, all sorts of absurd statues and various contrasts…” (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

I Was a Soldier (Bylem Zolnierzem) 1970, 16 mins. Kieslowski interviews soldiers who lost their sight in WWII. “I asked them what they dreamt about at night, and that was the subject of this film.” (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Bricklayer (Murarz) 1973, 18 mins. A bricklayer recalls how, as an activist during the Stalinist era in the mid 1950s, he was encouraged by the Party to become an exemplary worker (Stakhanovite) and move to an office job.

From a Night Porter’s Point of View (Z Punktu Widzenia Nocnego Portiera) 1977, 16 mins. A bracing portrait of a factory porter who is a fanatic of strict discipline, a man of borderline fascistic views. Marian Osuch’s extremism even extends into his personal life as he tries to control everybody and everything in the belief that rules are more important than people.

Seven Women of Different Ages (Siedem Kobiet w Roznym Wieku) 1978, 15 mins. Subtle portraits of seven female dancers spanning days of the week, from the smallest child taking her first steps in ballet to the eldest ballerina now working as an instructor.

Talking Heads (Gadajace Glowy) 1980, 14 mins. Seventy-nine Poles, aged 7 to 100, answer three questions: When were you born? What are you? What would you like most?

Railway Station (Dworzec) 1980, 13 mins. One of Kieslowski’s most celebrated documentaries looks at people in a Warsaw train station with empathy but without romanticism. “We spent about ten nights at this railway station trying to photograph ‘lost’ people. It’s about them.” (Krzysztof Kieslowski)

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