30.11.2022 Events, Film

Stefan and Franciszka Themerson at BAMPFA in Berkely, CA

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 7pm PT (60 mins)
University of California, Berkely Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
2155 Center Street, Berkely, CA

Tickets at BAMPF

Truly one of the most important film rediscoveries of recent years . . . [Europa is] a major lost work of the European avant-garde and an affirmation of Stefan and Franciszka Themerson’s important contribution to cinema history. – BENJAMIN COOK, LUX

Surrealist husband-wife duo Stefan and Franciszka Themerson were pioneers of the Polish cinematic avant-garde of the 1930s. Stefan, an architecture student, and Franciszka, a fine-art student, met in Warsaw in the late 1920s and began an innovative, collaborative film practice that parlayed trick photography, photograms, and collage techniques into radical works of experimental moving-image art. Of the five films they created in the prewar period, Europa, made in 1931, was their masterpiece: a kinetic condemnation of creeping fascism across Europe, based on Anatol Stern’s 1929 futurist poem of the same title. Until 2019 it was thought lost forever. Miraculously, a print was discovered in Germany’s national archive. Restored and featuring a newly commissioned soundtrack by Dutch musician-musicologist Lodewijk Muns, Europa forms the centerpiece of this tribute to the trailblazing Polish avant-gardists. The program also includes their three other surviving shorts, as well as reconstructions by artist Bruce Checefsky of two of their still-lost early films.

Presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York, with thanks to Tomek Smolarski. Preceded by a reading of selections from Stern’s 1929 poem “Europa.”


Bruce Checefsky, United States, 2001

Stefan Themerson, Franciszka Themerson, Poland, 1931

Moment Musical
Bruce Checefsky, United States, 2006

Adventures of a Good Citizen 
(Przygoda człowieka poczciwego
Stefan Themerson, Franciszka Themerson, Poland, 1937

Calling Mr. Smith
Stefan Themerson, Franciszka Themerson, United Kingdom, 1943

The Eye and the Ear
Stefan Themerson, Franciszka Themerson, United Kingdom, 1945

Lead image: Pharmacy.

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