The first Polish film dates back to 1908, but Polish cinema really started to come to life in the late 1950s. Since then, and especially in the last decade, the Polish film industry has really flourished, having been nominated for and receiving prestigious awards.
One of the most important names associated with contemporary Polish cinema is Paweł Pawlikowski. Paweł Pawlikowski began his career in the West of Europe as a documentary film maker for the BBC. He made his debut in the film “Last resort” in 2000. His later films are “Summer of Love” from 2004 and “Woman of the Fifth District”.
In 2013, he returned to Poland to make a film called “Ida” about the turbulent fate of a nun in a Catholic order. The picture has been amazingly successful around the world and has been showered with many awards – including the first Oscar for Polish cinema.
Pawlikowski’s next film, which brought him an Oscar nomination in the category ‘foreign language film’ and ‘directing’ is Cold War from 2018. It is a romantic and sad story of impossible love – the young dancer Zula and pianist Wiktor against the background of the Cold War waged between the countries of Western Europe and the Communist Bloc.
KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School for Foreigners organised watching the film “Cold War” as part of its original program “Meetings with Culture” to watch a film in Polish with English subtitles with its foreign language students. After the film, there was a discussion during which everyone could share their impressions and feelings, and as a consequence better understand Polish culture and language.
Another name in Polish cinema worth mentioning is Wojciech Smarzowski. He is considered to be the most interesting Polish filmmaker at present. The movie “The Wedding” in 2004 immediately attracted the attention of critics. Another film “Bad House” (2009) meant that he began to be seen as a mature artist with a perfect workshop and his own unique style. Smarzowski’s subsequent films consistently depict a world full of pathology, corruption, cruelty and degeneration. These quite difficult to perceive images have gained huge crowds of admirers and critical acclaim. Worth recommended are: “Rose” (2011), “Drogówka” (2012), “Pod Mocnym Aniołem” (2014), “Volhynia” (2016) and “Clergy ” (2018).
Why is Polish cinema so interesting and why does it bring such international recognition? Polish films are often very picturesque, whether in colour or completely black and white, with beautiful cinematography as well as well-picked soundtracks which massively complement the film itself. These aspects, as well as the terrific actors and actresses, really pull the films together into a piece of artwork and create an endearing and emotional experience for the audience.
KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School has its own list of the most interesting films of contemporary Polish cinema worth watching, for Poles and foreigners alike: It includes: “Day of the Freak” (M. Koterski, 2002), “Edi” (P. Trzaskalski, 2002), “Pręgi” (M. Piekorz, 2004), “Plac Zbawiciel” (K. Krauze, 2006), “Reverse” (B. Lankosz, 2009), “In Darkness” (2012) and “Pokot” (2017) based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk – both directed by Agnieszka Holland, “Body / Body” (M. Szumowska, 2015), “Gods” (2014) and “Best” (2017) – both by Łukasz Palkowski, “Last Family” (J. Matuszyński, 2016), “Silent Night” (P. Domalewski, 2017), “Carte Blanche” (J. Lusiński, 2015), “Tower, a bright day” (J. Szelc, 2017) and “Corpus Christi “(2019) by Jan Komasa, nominated for an ‘Oscar’ this year.
Around a year ago, KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School initiated the event called “Filmowy Piąteczek” (“Friday Film”) which was a monthly occurrence. We set up our own small cinema in the school and played Polish movies with English subtitles and proceeded to discuss the films afterwards together. Our students really enjoy and appreciate these events; it’s the perfect way to practise Polish as well as watch beautiful films and immerse in Polish culture and cinematography!
POLISH FILMS NOMINATED FOR AN ‘OSCAR’:
1963 „Nóż w wodzie” Roman Polański;
1967 „Faraon” Jerzy Kawalerowicz;
1975 “Potop” Jerzy Hoffman;
1976 “Ziemia Obiecana” Andrzej Wajda;
1977 “Noce i Dnie” Jerzy Antczak;
1980 “Panny z Wilka” Andrzej Wajda;
1982 “Człowiek z Żelaza” Andrzej Wajda;
2008 “Katyń” Andrzej Wajda;
2012 “W ciemności” Agnieszka Holland;
2015 “Ida” Paweł Pawlikowski;
2019 “Zimna Wojna” Paweł Pawlikowski;
2020 “Boże Ciało” Jan Komasa.