FREE special event
STORIES FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN
A Conversation on "Stories From Behind the Iron Curtain"
Our guest speakers, Sean Keeley and Eva Baker, hosted by Urszula Horoszko, head of the public and cultural diplomacy section at the Embassy of Poland in Washington, D.C., discuss the creation of the series and share their insights on the showcase's featured films.
About the event
The great tradition of Polish cinema has been to look into Poland’s turbulent history and to understand how it affects the lives of its protagonists. The end of World War II 75 years ago brought Poland peace, but denied us our freedom. Only with the arrival of the Solidarity movement in 1980 could Poles rekindle their hope for true independence.
The protagonists of Reverse, Little Rose, and All That I Love all grapple with the post-World War II reality of communist rule in Poland and work to maneuver their way through it. Importantly, these films are great examples of accessible and commercially successful genre films that address themes previously reserved for grand national epics such as Wajda’s works and the moral anxiety of 70s arthouse fares with their chief representatives, Kieślowski and Zanussi. The films in this showcase were made quite recently and are based on events and issues still discussed in Poland yet lesser known to international audiences. Thus, they offer unique insights not only into these events, but, just as importantly, contemporary interpretations and discussions surrounding historical facts.
The difficult choices that characters in these films face are presented in a broad array of genres. You’ll be laughing and falling in love together with Sabina, the heroine of a retro comedy thriller (Reverse); weeping with Kamila, a young woman at the center of an impossible love triangle (Little Rose); and coming-of-age together with a young alternative rocker, Janek and his love, Basia (All That I Love).
The showcase is organized by the Polish Film Festival in Miami and the Embassy of Poland in Washington D.C. in cooperation with the Documentary and Feature Film Studios (WFDiF) and the National Film Archive and the Audiovisual Institute (FINA).
Discover these “Stories from behind the Iron Curtain”!
The event is FREE - all you need to do is to register at PFF Virtual Movie Theatre.
Reverse (2009) dir. Borys Lankosz: available for streaming 6/25 – 7/01
Little Rose (2010) dir. Jan Kidawa-Błoński: available for streaming 7/02 – 7/08
All That I Love (2009) dir. Jacek Borcuch: available for streaming 7/09 – 7/15
JuNE 25-JULY 01
Directed by Borys Lankosz
1h 36 min., in POLISH with ENGLISH subtitles
Presented in cooperation with the Documentary and Feature Film Studios (WFDiF)
Rated NR (Parental guidance suggested)
Warsaw, 1952 – the height of the Stalinist era in Poland. Thirty-year-old Sabina (Agata Buzek) works in the poetry section of a state-run publishing house. Both her mother and her grandmother pressure the young woman to find a husband, but either her suitors turn out to be married or she simply doesn't find them attractive. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, appears the charming, intelligent, and terribly good-looking Bronisław (Marcin Dorociński). His presence sparks a series of unexpected events, forcing Sabina to take drastic steps to protect herself and her family.
A playful genre mash-up of black comedy, period drama and thriller, Reverse received several awards at the 2009 Gdynia Polish Film Festival, including the Grand Prix Golden Lions for Best Film, Best Actress in a Leading Role for Agata Buzek, Best Cinematography for Marcin Koszałka, Best Music for Włodzimierz Pawlik and Best Supporting Actor for Marcin Dorociński. It was also the Polish submission for the 2009 Academy Awards.
In an interview for Cineuropa in 2009, Director Borys Lankosz said this of his film: I present another view of the Stalin era, I show the reality from a woman’s perspective. (…) the film is the story of spiritual victory, a tale of women who have to fight against the evil which erupts in their lives and who find themselves under pressure. In this sense, it’s a sort of study of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.
New York Times: Polish Film’s amoral new wave. (…) Some see in this and other dark and innovative films a rebirth of the Polish Film School.
About the director:
Borys Lankosz, born in 1973 in Kraków, graduated from the National Film School in Łódź in 1999. His first documentary, Evolution / Rozwój (2001), won awards at film festivals in Kraków and San Francisco. Reverse was his feature film debut, and his most recent movie, Dark, Almost Night / Ciemno, prawie noc (2019), was based on the novel of the same name by Joanna Bator, which won the prestigious NIKE book award in Poland.
This screening is organized in cooperation with the Documentary and Feature Film Studios (WFDiF). Located at 21 Chełmska Street in Warsaw, WFDiF has been producing legendary Polish films for over 70 years, including those directed by Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Antczak, Krzysztof Zanussi, Krzysztof Kieślowski and Jerzy Hoffman. Currently, WFDiF is the largest film production center in Poland and a welcoming place for debuting artists. WFDiF is also engaged in activities aimed at preserving Polish cinematograhpic heritage for future generations.
Directed by Jan Kidawa-Błoński
118 min., in POLISH with ENGLISH subtitles
The years 1967-68 were a turbulent time in Poland marked by student protests. An Internal Security Service (SB) colonel, Rożek (Robert Więckiewicz), is tasked with exposing a well-known dissident writer, Warczewski (Andrzej Seweryn), whom the communists labeled as a "camouflaged Zionist" and a “Jewish anti-socialist element in Polish society.” To reach him, Rożek dispatches his young and beautiful mistress, a secret agent nicknamed “Różyczka,” or Little Rose (Magdalena Boczarska). The film is inspired by actual events, in particular the life story of historian Paweł Jasienica and his second wife, Zofia O'Bretenny, the latter of which, after years of marriage, turned out to be an undercover agent who reported on Jasienica to the Internal Security Service.
Variety: ‘Little Rose' is a melodramatic exposé of how government agents infiltrated and informed on groups of writers and artists.
Director Jan Kidawa-Błoński: Despite its historical decorations ‘Little Rose’ is a story about love, passion and the price one needs to pay to be in conformity with his or her own feelings and conscience.
The movie received several awards at international film festivals, including the 2010 Gdynia Polish Film Festival where it won, among other honors, the Grand Prix Golden Lions for Best Film, and the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Magdalena Boczarska.
About the Director:
Jan Kidawa-Błoński, born 1953 in Chorzów, is a film director, producer and screenwriter associated in particular with the Silesian region of Poland. His best-known movie is the award-winning film, Destined for Blues / Skazany na bluesa (2005), which tells the story of Ryszard Riedel, a legendary blues-rock singer.
All that I love
WSZYSTKO CO KOCHAM
Directed by Jacek Borcuch
100 min., in POLISH with ENGLISH subtitles
Presented in cooperation with the National Film Archive and the Audiovisual Institute FINA
It's the year 1981 in Poland - the Solidarity movement is on the rise, and citizens are willing to openly criticize the Communist regime in ways they had never done before. Janek (Mateusz Kościukiewicz), the teenage son of a navy captain, forms ATIL (All That I Love), a punk-rock band whose songs express a frustration with socialism and a desire for freedom, echoing the sentiments of the Solidarity movement. At the same time, Janek falls in love with Basia (Olga Frycz), a young woman whose father is part of the movement and who disapproves of Janek’s military family. When growing social turmoil leads to martial law, Janek’s relationships and ATIL’s music have serious consequences for his family members, lovers, and friends. All That I Love was an official selection at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and the Polish submission for the 2010 Academy Awards.
The Hollywood Reporter: You don't usually find the words ‘warm’ and ‘lyrical’ associated with punk rock, but filmmaker Jacek Borcuch proceeds to bring the seemingly contradictory elements together.
Director Jacek Borcuch: There is a time in everyone’s life – those fleeting few years - when we are no longer children but haven’t crossed yet the threshold of adulthood. A time full of “first times.”
About the Director:
Jacek Borcuch, born in 1970 in Kwidzyn, is an actor, director, screenwriter and musician. A major breakthrough in his acting career came with his role in Krzysztof Krauze’s The Debt / Dług (1999), one of the most notable Polish films released after 1989. His best-known works as a director also include Lasting / Nieulotne (2012) and Dolce Fine Giornata / Słodki koniec dnia (2019).
This screening is organized in cooperation with the National Film Archive and Audiovisual Institute (FINA). FINA is a modern culture institution whose mission includes the digitization, restoration, dissemination and archiving of Poland’s audiovisual heritage. FINA is also involved with co-producing new audiovisual works (films, radio and TV broadcasts, film and music publications).
"Godfather of PFF Miami"
“The Polish Film Festival Miami is a delightful initiative! Gorgeous site, wonderful people, friendly atmosphere, and the unforgettable sun of the Miami Beach—it’s all there. The organizers led by Eva Baker—just like last year— guarantee a program which offers a superb artistic level. Please join us! You won’t regret you did—it will be time well spent!
This form of encounter with Polish culture and Polish filmmakers makes perfect sense. Our film industry has found a new, fantastic place to present its achievements not just to Polish, but also American audience. And they are terrific, indeed!
Our Festival will grow, and its future is bright.
See you in Miami!”
The Polish Film Festival Miami is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a platform for introducing, promoting, and nurturing achievements of contemporary Polish cinema and the art of filmmaking itself, with special consideration for the cultural diversity of the cities of Miami and Miami Beach.
It is a place to enjoy, learn, and discover. It is also a place of inclusion, acceptance, and respect.
The inaugural Festival took place in November 2018, in the heart of South Beach, at the iconic Miami Beach Cinematheque. This three-day event was met with huge interest from the Polish and American communities of world cinema fans and included members of Miami Beach Film Society, as well as movie professionals and students. Some of them traveled from cities like Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Vero Beach to attend the sold-out screenings.
The Polish Film Festival Miami is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a platform for introducing, promoting, and nurturing achievements of contemporary Polish cinema and the art of filmmaking itself.
LOT Polish Airlines is proud to be a sponsor for the Miami Polish Film Festival and is honored to be part of supporting the Polish cinema and filmmakers, as they incorporate the culture of Miami and Poland into their films.
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The O Cinema (formerly The Cinematheque) calls the historic South Beach City Hall its home and extends its welcome to the Miami Beach Film Society. Now including a screening room, bookstore/library, gallery, and café, the O Cinema is considered one of Miami’s premiere HD art-house cinemas.
1130 Washington Ave · Miami Beach · FL 33139