It’s here! Kinoteka, the annual festival of the best of Polish cinema, coming to your cinemas from 9th March to 3rd April. Join us in celebrating Polish film at the anniversary 20th edition of the festival!
In the face of pandemic-related setbacks, Polish cinema has proven to be resilient across the past year. In spite of an initial three-month closure of film sets in early 2020 – as well as a near three-quarter drop in cinema admissions and gross box office – films continued to be produced in Poland. By the end of 2020, a total of 72 full-length films were completed. At the 20th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival, it is our pleasure to present an exciting programme full of new productions, alongside curated Polish classics and a singular cinematic journey into the virtual world.
The festival gets underway at the ICA with our Opening Night Gala screening of Silent Land, a mysterious, slow-burning portrait of guilt and denial. This confident debut feature opens up a complex dialogue about morality and incorporates the migrant crisis in Europe.
Our New Polish Cinema strand takes place at Riverside Studios, the ICA, JW3, and The Prince Charles Cinema. This year, a wide-ranging assortment of nine films brings together true and fictional stories in a display of the emotional strength of the contemporary cinema landscape in Poland. Nostalgia – both for the communist era and the 1990s – is on the mind of the directors of Back Then and Back to Those Days, while the theme of injustice drives Leave No Traces, 25 Years of Innocence and The Death of Zygielbom. Meanwhile, comedy of characters The In-Laws and dark thriller A Woman at Night highlight the sheer of creativity of the Polish film industry.
The programme continues with our long-standing partner the BFI. After its success at last year’s online festival, BFI Player will once again host a selection of 20th-century Polish film. The Modern Polish Cinema strand showcases well-established classics such as The Maids of Wilko (1979) and How to Be Loved (1963) alongside the likes of Sexmission (1984) and Pigs (1992), cult films in Poland that have only had a limited overseas release. The importance of Poland’s women directors is also foregrounded, with Agnieszka Holland’s lesser-known sophomore feature Fever (1981) and the outstanding but underappreciated Barbara Sass’s debut Without Love (1980).
As part of our commitment to interactive events that push the boundaries of film, we present VR Nightsss in collaboration with the ICA. This immersive, sensory-kinetic experience brings together poetry, dance and nature via virtual reality. The ICA also screens the documentary 1970, a unique combination of archival photography, telephone conversations and stop-motion animation, which explores the violent events that took place in Poland in December 1970.
Our Closing Night Gala draws the curtain on this year’s festival with a screening of the 1924 silent film Forbidden Paradise, accompanied by an atmospheric live score led by composer Marcin Pakaluk.
After this difficult period for cinema-goers, we are delighted to welcome you back to the festival. We encourage you all to delve into the best of Polish cinema and culture with us.