Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
D50
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:00 am
Location: USA

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#101 Post by D50 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:43 pm

Is there a DVD set for sale?

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#102 Post by swo17 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:47 pm

No.

User avatar
jsteffe
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#103 Post by jsteffe » Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:30 pm

chiendent wrote:Shame to hear that the restoration isn't ideal but Knights of the Black Cross is probably going to be the first one I watch from the set, sounds right up my alley. Have these restored films toured much? I'm only aware of the New York retrospective.
The Martin Scorsese touring package was available for a strictly limited period of time, but it did screen at a number of venues outside New York. I brought several of the titles to Emory. Knights of the Black Cross was the first time we used the full 'scope capability of our DCP system, and it was very wide.

MichaelB is right, multiple facilities in Poland are doing all of these recent restorations. Of the films in the touring package, I thought Blind Chance turned out particularly well, as did Illumination. The Wedding looked fine, if I remember correctly, but the film itself was a revelation for me.

The Saragossa Manuscript looked good, but like the Polish Blu-ray it had just a touch too much grain management, I felt. Earlier in this thread MichaelB called it a "a veritable Madame Tussaud's." I wouldn't go that far, but it is somewhat frustrating. Pharaoh also looked good but was too cleaned up. Jump and Eroica went overboard. Most of these DCPs were the same masters that have appeared recently on DVD and Blu-ray, especially in Poland and through Second Run in the UK. They closely resemble the video releases in terms of strengths and shortcomings.

Even so, the audience responded very well to the films. It was a wonderful opportunity and I really wish we could have shown more of them.

WmS
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:46 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#104 Post by WmS » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:05 am

I saw the DCPs of Mother Joan of the Angels, Salto (Jump), and To Kill This Love in the front rows of the Wexner Center and thought they all looked quite good. Mother Joan seemed a bit digital, so to speak-- the whites were a touch blown-out in a way that I associate with video. To Kill This Love, which was unexpected and impressive, looked great. With Salto I was too perplexed and swept away by the story to notice the grain. I haven't rewatched it on blu-ray yet. Wexner also showed Black Cross and five others, but not the whole slate, unfortunately. Wish I'd been able to catch Illumination.

Fortunately I thought the most visually spectacular in the first set, Hourglass Sanatorium, looked lovely on disc. First in from the second set will be Illumination. Hopefully the older b&w ones are not overly scrubbed.

User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#105 Post by feihong » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:28 am

These transfers are the same as some of the ones released on blu ray in the last few years, right? Hourglass Sanatorium and Sargossa Manuscript, for instance, Austeria, Man of Iron? Some of those discs looked very good, others not so much, as I recall. The disc I have of Promised Land seemed quite nice, and Hourglass Sanatorium as well.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#106 Post by MichaelB » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:23 am

I believe they're exactly the same - I can't see why they wouldn't be.

User avatar
perkizitore
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:29 pm
Location: OOP is the only answer

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#107 Post by perkizitore » Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:34 pm

The code IHAVETHEFIRSTONE gives you 10% off the second set.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#108 Post by domino harvey » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:45 pm

Worked my way through the first set finally after only having watched Jump when it first arrived, and frankly, I found the set on the whole to echo my initial under-enthused response to that film. Not only did I not discover any “masterpieces,” but I didn’t think most of the films ever rose above “okay,” if that.

Promised Land is the highlight of the box, but ultimately also a mixed bag. Obviously the film is wonderfully adept at employing all manner of frantic and frenetic visual perspectives in its depiction of the bombast of greed in the industrial era. But the movie is so go-for-broke in its anti-capitalist screeds that it leaves no hackneyed perspective or overfamiliar cliche unused in its quest to be as obvious as possible. And the insurance plotline's resolution is so transparently stupid that I felt personally insulted by its use in the film. I can see why Scorsese would take a shine to it, as it anticipates (the far superior) Wolf of Wall Street both formally and tonally, but while I was entertained, the flaws here are just too glaring to ignore, even if it did end up being the strongest film of the lot-- it's easily the only one I'd seek out from the set if a boutique label decided to release it on Blu-ray, as I'm selling this box.

Man of Marble and Man of Iron (though inexplicably only the “sequel” is included in the box) are passable political examinations, with both weighed down heavily by the spectre of the obvious inspiration, Citizen Kane (with a bit of ideologically-switched search for John Galt thrown in). However, I’m not sure this project ended up justifying the five and a quarter hours it took to tell the tale.

The two Zanussi films were among the most frustrating. While Camouflage is the far superior of the two, I quickly tired of the endless emasculations of the protagonists in both it and Constant Factor. Overly strident ideals will meet opposition and even cause heartache and headache for yourself and others. You don't say. At least Camouflage lampshades the neverending supply of fatalistic endings in post-60s art house cinema (Constant Factor sure doesn't).

Speaking of art house cinema, not sure why Pharaoh has any cachet at all other than that it’s doing a Hollywood epic in another country and in another language. Nothing visually or thematically here is all that far removed from any average Hollywood product of a decade prior. Okay, so it looks nice-- so does Cleopatra from a few years earlier by a factor of ten. So what?

By the time I got to Provincial Actors, I had more than had my fill of foolhardy protagonists who cling to a half-realized idealistic bent against all reason and in the process screw themselves (seriously, virtually every film in this set follows the same goddamn pattern), and nothing in this familiar tale of a “political” play (which, oh ho, of course highlights by ironic contrast how the creatives treat the real working class in their midst, the stagehands), the actors who feature in it, and the marital strife occurring simultaneously with it made me overlook my overexposure fatigue.

And, finally, the Hourglass Sanatorium rounded out the set with its dreamy, free-associative narrative of a young man navigating a world of women wearing loose-fitting blouses. I have little patience for movies where lots of weird stuff happens with little provocation, so while I can see how others who like this kind of thing might enjoy this one, it left a suitably unimpressive taste in my mouth as I drew the box to a close, though it still fared better than some other titles in the box.

Despite all this, I’m still looking forward to the second set, as it looks to be a much more interesting set of films, but who knows!

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#109 Post by swo17 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 7:58 pm

domino harvey wrote:Overly strident ideals will meet opposition and even cause heartache and headache for yourself and others.
Way to pin down my entire life in a single sentence.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#110 Post by MichaelB » Wed Sep 28, 2016 3:37 am

domino harvey wrote:Man of Marble and Man of Iron (though inexplicably only the “sequel” is included in the box) are passable political examinations, with both weighed down heavily by the spectre of the obvious inspiration, Citizen Kane (with a bit of ideologically-switched search for John Galt thrown in). However, I’m not sure this project ended up justifying the five and a quarter hours it took to tell the tale.
That's because you're not a Pole watching the films in 1977/81 - or (I'm guessing, but you strongly hint) someone with any especial knowledge of or interest in the historical/political background. Both films are phenomenally rich (you could easily write a book about them, and I haven't ruled out such a project myself, having effectively written the first 5,000 words for Second Run's Man of Marble already), but much of the richness is necessarily conveyed in very subtle and nuanced form thanks to the original circumstances of production and distribution.

For instance, just to take one example out of dozens, there's the fact that the ending of Man of Marble is clearly set in Gdańsk, on the other side of the (large) country where much of the rest of the action takes place. Why go there? Because Wajda knew that by visually associating the Gdańsk shipyard with a report of someone's recent death, a Polish viewer would pick up on the fact that he most likely died in the 1970 government-backed crackdown following disturbances at the shipyard - something that Wajda was finally able to spell out in the sequel. And of course in the sequel, the reason why so much attention is paid to this revelation is because it was an absolutely massive deal at the time, since what happened in 1970 had been one of those Katyń-style things that everybody in Poland knew the truth about but which up to then had been completely taboo as far as the media were concerned. And what was an equally big deal at the time - so controversial that Poland's then Prime Minister wanted Man of Marble banned outright - was the underlying implication that Poles had been systematically lied to by their governments, not just in the 1950s but ever since. In this respect it was the first Polish feature film that dared to suggest that the socialist project as a whole (not just in the long-buried Stalinist period) maybe wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

In other words, Wajda's not so much interested in "telling the tale" as anatomising Poland between 1950 and 1980 in a way that Polish audiences had never seen before, which is why both films were such phenomenal word of mouth hits and why Man of Iron did a roaring trade on the pirate VHS circuit when it was banned after martial law was imposed. Indeed, that's why Wajda wasn't bothered about simply pulling existing characters off the shelf when it became clear that something seismic was happening in the Gdańsk shipyard in 1980 - normally, he'd have spent much more time on script development, but he recognised that it was more important for him to document what was then a very fast-moving and unpredictable situation. (As a result, I think Krystyna Janda is somewhat wasted in Man of Iron, but I accept that there may well have been scheduling/logistical reasons for this - she was heavily in demand at the time, ironically because Man of Marble made her a major star overnight.)

One of the frustrating things about these boxes is that they don't take the opportunity to offer what is often very necessary contextualisation. Because Poland had a decent-sized population, Polish filmmakers generally didn't have a very international outlook (when I interviewed Wajda a few years ago, he told me point blank that if non-Polish audiences liked his films, that was great, but they weren't the target audience so he was never inclined to pander to them), and when that's combined with the fact that heavy censorship obliged them to be subtle rather than explicit, the result is that even their major films often need extensive footnoting (something that remains true to this day, which is why Wojciech Smarzowski is hugely successful in Poland but all but unknown internationally, as his darkly comedic anatomisations of things like the martial law era or the immediate post-1945 period where Poles persecuted ethnic Germans are much less resonant to people who don't know about them already, as the most memorable moments generally rely on shared recognition). I've tried to supply such footnoting myself on such diverse projects as Arrow's Ashes and Diamonds and Dekalog and Second Run's Escape from the Liberty Cinema, Goodbye See You Tomorrow, Man of Marble, Night Train and Shivers (Wojciech Marczewski, not David Cronenberg), but that's only because the labels asked me to.

drdoros
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 4:36 pm

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#111 Post by drdoros » Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:48 am

We do have a pretty good press kit that is available free to anyone. It does give some background to the films:

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0150/ ... al.pdf?128

But of course, it's not as extensive as Michael's work. I would suggest Marek Holtof's books on Polish cinema as an equally good place to get information on the Polish cinema presented in the boxes.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#112 Post by MichaelB » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:13 am

Yes, very much seconded - I have Haltof's book on Krzysztof Kieślowski open on my desk right now!

User avatar
jsteffe
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#113 Post by jsteffe » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:15 am

The first time I viewed Man of Marble in college, I didn't have that context, but was still able to pick up on some of what Wajda was doing. To be sure, at that time the Solidarity party was in the papers. Regardless, I still found it a gripping experience, and it really sparked my interest in Eastern European cinema.

Not to denigrate Cleopatra (which I like), but Pharaoh has a lot more going for it thematically as a dissection of power. I can imagine that it resonated with Polish viewers at the time. It is FAR from being a big but empty spectacle. And it has more stylistic focus and expressiveness than Cleopatra. Many scenes are really beautifully staged. Arguably some elements (like some of the casting and dialogue) seem dated today, but I've found the film to reward repeat viewings.

apriori
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:18 pm

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#114 Post by apriori » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:25 pm

MichaelB wrote:
domino harvey wrote:Man of Marble and Man of Iron (though inexplicably only the “sequel” is included in the box) are passable political examinations, with both weighed down heavily by the spectre of the obvious inspiration, Citizen Kane (with a bit of ideologically-switched search for John Galt thrown in). However, I’m not sure this project ended up justifying the five and a quarter hours it took to tell the tale.
That's because you're not a Pole watching the films in 1977/81 - or (I'm guessing, but you strongly hint) someone with any especial knowledge of or interest in the historical/political background.
I was fortunate enough to have studied Polish cinema extensively during college (in addition to the history of E. Euro Communism and secret police). That background was certainly helpful in understanding and appreciating both "Man of Marble" and "Man of Iron" years after graduation. I wouldn't say historical context is necessary to appreciate these films as works of art, but confusion may be inevitable in lack of context (for example, friends of mine were confused by the differences between union strikes in command and capitalist economies). Films like "The Hourglass Sanatorium" are more confusing in lack of context than Wajda's works, I think.

The boldness of these films has to be respected. As you mentioned, Wajda crossed a major (and dangerous) line in directly implicating the post-Stalinist socialist regime in widespread deception. To my knowledge that was a first. Part of the fun in watching Soviet films is reading between the lines for subtle attacks on the socialist system. Socialist censors had a notoriously poor grasp of metaphor, and it was in that gap that Tarkovsky, Forman, early Wajda, et al. vented frustrations with the system without directly implicating themselves. Only Sergei Parajanov was brave enough to flout the Soviets openly by embracing religious surrealism instead of socialist realism (at the cost of a trip to the gulag). Perhaps Wajda deserves credit for mastering the art of sedition with propriety.

Wajda aspiration to a purely nationalist cinema for Poland added layers to his films relative to world cinema that aspired for the universal. I've always detected an internal conflict between the iconoclastic individualism of his characters (and probably Wajda himself) and the romantic pursuit of a national identity. He's a radical who longs for conservatism, a psychology which typically amounts to a death sentence for his characters. Wajda played inside baseball with history extending beyond Poland's borders as well. People have forgotten just how controversially "Danton" was received in the 80's. French socialists were outraged by Wajda's historical revisionism in Robespierre's portrayal as a tyrant (which of course he was).

User avatar
jsteffe
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#115 Post by jsteffe » Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:54 pm

apriori wrote:Socialist censors had a notoriously poor grasp of metaphor, and it was in that gap that Tarkovsky, Forman, early Wajda, et al. vented frustrations with the system without directly implicating themselves.
The filmmakers certainly liked to promote themselves as more sophisticated than the censors, but I am growing skeptical of that idea. In the Soviet context, the Artistic Council meetings included fellow filmmakers and scriptwriters, while at the higher levels the censorship boards included established industry figures. But I can't speak for Poland, specifically.

Also, I feel very differently about The Hourglass Sanatorium compared to domino harvey, and not just because I like Polish cinema. That was one of the first Polish films I had ever seen in 35mm, and I still had not read Bruno Schulz's stories, yet I found its surrealistic atmosphere striking and engrossing. Schulz's atmospheric short stories are basically impossible to adapt for the big screen - he was one of the great prose writers in 20th century literature - but I thought the film did a good job capturing different aspects of his stories. Its attempt to view those stories through the lens of the Holocaust is also quite sophisticated. I consider the film a major contribution to global Jewish cinema.

apriori
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:18 pm

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#116 Post by apriori » Wed Sep 28, 2016 7:25 pm

jsteffe wrote:
apriori wrote:Socialist censors had a notoriously poor grasp of metaphor, and it was in that gap that Tarkovsky, Forman, early Wajda, et al. vented frustrations with the system without directly implicating themselves.
The filmmakers certainly liked to promote themselves as more sophisticated than the censors, but I am growing skeptical of that idea. In the Soviet context, the Artistic Council meetings included fellow filmmakers and scriptwriters, while at the higher levels the censorship boards included established industry figures. But I can't speak for Poland, specifically.

Also, I feel very differently about The Hourglass Sanatorium compared to domino harvey, and not just because I like Polish cinema. That was one of the first Polish films I had ever seen in 35mm, and I still had not read Bruno Schulz's stories, yet I found its surrealistic atmosphere striking and engrossing. Schulz's atmospheric short stories are basically impossible to adapt for the big screen - he was one of the great prose writers in 20th century literature - but I thought the film did a good job capturing different aspects of his stories. Its attempt to view those stories through the lens of the Holocaust is also quite sophisticated. I consider the film a major contribution to global Jewish cinema.
There may be embellishment on the filmmakers' parts, but I think there's truth to the folklore. It's well documented that Czech authorities had a very hard time deciding whether Forman was satirizing socialist authorities with "The Fireman's Ball" or a literal group of incompetent firemen. I've heard the same said for "Andrei Rublev". The Soviets initially struggled to decide whether Tarkovsky had attacked the Orthodox Church in Medieval Russia or had made a backdoor commentary on Soviet censorship. This is almost certainly true of Wajda's work. His commentary was more subtle than analogies between firemen and central planners. For example, the censors praised the fate of the protagonist in "Ashes and Diamonds" and thought it affirmed the righteousness of the regime and its cause. Wajda however said (paraphrased), "My intent was to make people wonder what kind of system could lead to such a beautiful boy dying in a rubbish heap". And I think his perspective is the one that comes through to viewers.

Different regions of the Soviet bloc took different approaches to censorship and that certainly made a difference. For example, the Czechs tried to learn from conflicts between Russian authorities and filmmakers by openly embracing cinema production as a propaganda tool. They tried to win more flies with honey and built cutting edge soundstages and funneled lots of money into production. Of course, they finally became as authoritarian as the rest of the Soviet bloc was, but the initial subversive elements to Czech films may not have been entirely lost on them as the filmmakers suggest.

I agree completely about "The Hourglass Sanatorium". I only meant that much of the symbolism was initially lost on me due to my lack of knowledge of Jewish culture and history in Poland. The surreal moments reference very specific historical events in clever ways and if you're unaware of these (as I was) the surreality could come across as arbitrary. After reading up on it, that's definitely not the case and like you I consider it an important moment in Jewish (and Holocaust) film.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#117 Post by MichaelB » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:05 am

jsteffe wrote:The filmmakers certainly liked to promote themselves as more sophisticated than the censors, but I am growing skeptical of that idea. In the Soviet context, the Artistic Council meetings included fellow filmmakers and scriptwriters, while at the higher levels the censorship boards included established industry figures. But I can't speak for Poland, specifically.
I can, and it's much the same. Every film had to run the gauntlet of an official "kolaudacja" screening, after which the film's artistic worth and commercial appeal would be assessed by people with solid artistic and literary credentials - certainly not just grey-suited, grey-faced official censors. Here's the opening of my Man of Marble essay, which describes the kind of people involved:
22 December 1976. Andrzej Wajda’s new film Man of Marble is screened to a distinguished audience that includes the filmmakers Czesław Petelski and Bohdan Poręba, the writers Jerzy Jesionowski, Bendykt Nosal and Krzysztof Teodor Toeplitz, the critics Lesław Bajer, Aleksander Jackiewicz, Zbigniew Klaczyński, Ryszard Koniczek and Andrzej Ochalski, the publicist Zbigniew Załuski and the philosophers Henryk Jankowski and Alicja Kuczyńska. Their reaction is, for the most part, very enthusiastic. There is general agreement that it is not just a great film but may well be a significant milestone in Polish cinema. Professor Jackiewicz predicts that it will be as important as Wajda’s third feature Ashes and Diamonds had been eighteen years earlier. Jesionowski praises its bitter honesty, Petelski confessed to finding it deeply moving, while Toeplitz, despite personal reservations, predicted a huge commercial success. A few criticisms are also voiced, notably about the possible impact on younger viewers with no memory of the 1950s (the era in which the film is primarily set) and whether or not the film’s depiction of specific events is entirely plausible, but the tone is mostly very positive indeed.

None of which sounds like an exceptional or unusual reaction, especially nearly four decades later, when Man of Marble is all but universally regarded as one of Polish cinema’s supreme masterpieces. But what makes this particular screening of unusual historical interest is that it was the official ‘kolaudacja’ presentation - a gauntlet that all films made in Communist Poland had to run before being judged as suitable for public exhibition, which formed the final stage in an elaborate censorship process that began at the pre-production stage (those interested in exploring this topic in detail are warmly encouraged to read Karolina Zioło’s essay ‘Andrzej Wajda and the struggle with censorship’). And the enthusiasm is particularly noteworthy because in 1977 the film would become a major political cause célèbre, vilified by many commentators and politicians and given a highly restricted release despite individual cinemas setting box-office records.

It’s always tempting to portray the relationship of filmmakers and (would-be) censors as an us-versus-them scenario, with the clever artist running rings around the stupid bureaucrat, but Man of Marble is an object lesson in how much more complex such situations can often be in reality. When Wajda formally responded to the comments made at the kolaudacja screening, he made a point of thanking Józef Tejchma, the then Minister of Culture. This was not just a politically expedient acknowledgement of his chief paymaster: it was an expression of genuine gratitude for the fact that he had been allowed to make the film at all. It had, after all, taken him fourteen years.

User avatar
domino harvey
Dot Com Dom
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#118 Post by domino harvey » Thu Sep 29, 2016 12:45 pm

Thank you everyone for your impassioned defenses-- if nothing else at least we are talking about more than packaging again! I won't pretend I "got" all of the allusions to Polish politics and historical events while watching the Man of... films, but there were more than enough context clues to get a workable summation throughout the pictures, though obviously historical context here as with all films enriches one's impressions. But honestly, while I generally enjoyed the two films, I am not especially vested in this region's political history and didn't like the films enough to delve much deeper into their cultural import. We all have our personal fields of interest and expertise, and this just isn't likely to be one of mine-- at least not yet based on the output I've seen from this box and elsewhere.

User avatar
jsteffe
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#119 Post by jsteffe » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:40 pm

I agree wholeheartedly--it's nice to have a discussion about the actual films themselves. I for one wouldn't say all the films in the collection are actually "masterpieces" - I'm still not that crazy about Salto (Jump), though I'm glad to have seen it. I do think that depending on one's tastes and sensibilities, these films can potentially appeal to a broader audience that those interested just in Polish or Eastern European cinema and culture, and some of them are bona fide masterpieces by any standard.

(BTW, I have my own personal biases and blind spots, including a low regard for Wes Anderson's films.)

User avatar
GaryC
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#120 Post by GaryC » Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:07 am

I can vouch for the fact that you don't need to pick up all the references Michael refers to, to enjoy Man of Marble. I first saw it on its British TV premiere on New Year's Day 1982, staying up until about 1.30am on 2 January. I was seventeen and new very little about Polish contemporary history other than the existence of Solidarity and the fact that the country was under martial law at the time. Yet I happily stayed the course and I found the film gripped me. I remember that showing very well. It was back in the days when the BBC still showed feature films (and some television productions) from film prints and there was an on-air apology about the state of the print but it was the best available due to the political situation in the country - and in fact it did break, causing an interruption to viewing in the early hours. The showing ended with an acknowledgement to Channel 4 who presumably had the TV rights to the film but weren't then on air - they showed it in 1985 I believe. The BBC showed Man of Iron a few days later while it was still showing in at least one London cinema, and I saw that too.

User avatar
AidanKing
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:22 pm
Location: Cornwall, U.K.

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#121 Post by AidanKing » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:43 am

drdoros wrote:I would suggest Marek Holtof's books on Polish cinema as an equally good place to get information on the Polish cinema presented in the boxes.
Are these written in Polish? They sound very useful but unfortunately I cannot read Polish.
MichaelB wrote:I've tried to supply such footnoting myself on such diverse projects as Arrow's Ashes and Diamonds and Dekalog and Second Run's Escape from the Liberty Cinema, Goodbye See You Tomorrow, Man of Marble, Night Train and Shivers (Wojciech Marczewski, not David Cronenberg), but that's only because the labels asked me to.
Is Goodbye See You Tomorrow forthcoming from Second Run or has it already been released and gone out of print?

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#122 Post by MichaelB » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:01 am

AidanKing wrote:
drdoros wrote:I would suggest Marek Holtof's books on Polish cinema as an equally good place to get information on the Polish cinema presented in the boxes.
Are these written in Polish? They sound very useful but unfortunately I cannot read Polish.
No, English - the three I have are Polish National Cinema, the Historical Dictionary of Polish Cinema and The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieślowski: Variations on Destiny and Chance, all of which I highly recommend.

If you want a good overview of the totality of Polish cinema (or at least up to 2010), I recommend Sheila Skaff's The Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896–1939 for the pre-war period, Haltof's Polish National Cinema to get you up to circa 2000 and then Polish Cinema Now! (ed. Mateusz Werner) for the post-Communist stuff. (Full disclosure: I'm a contributor to the Werner book, although I'm not aware of any others tackling similar ground.)
AidanKing wrote:Is Goodbye See You Tomorrow forthcoming from Second Run or has it already been released and gone out of print?
It's included in their Polish Cinema Classics Volume 1 box - I think it's the only thing in that box that hasn't been released separately. I'm rather proud of that essay, as it needed a lot of research - the film's got a substantial cult following in Poland, but very very little has been written about it in English, and nothing of any real substance. The "bingo!" moment was turning up a book (in English) about experimental theatre in 1950s Poland, which had a substantial section about what Zbigniew Cybulski was up to before he became famous - which turned out to be all the autobiographical material on which he based his screenplay. Which is why I was very flattered by the last sentence of this review - booklets often get ignored by reviewers, so it's nice of someone to notice the amount of work that went into one.

User avatar
AidanKing
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:22 pm
Location: Cornwall, U.K.

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#123 Post by AidanKing » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:37 am

Thank you very much for that information: it looks as if I did my Amazon searches for both the books and the film incompetently.

Haltof's book Polish Film and the Holocaust, which I have now also found a listing for, looks pretty interesting too.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#124 Post by MichaelB » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:42 am

I suspect the spelling "Holtof" didn't help...

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

#125 Post by zedz » Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:51 pm

I'm delighted to report that the flimsy internal design of the first box has been rectified so that now it would take a hell of a blow to dent the cardboard support structures. So it's much easier to appreciate the elegant design this time around.

Post Reply