DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript

Hands Up! Essential Skolimowski

July 22, 2011 - August 25, 2011

image

Actor, director, poet, painter, boxer: Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski is a man of many roles. A key figure in the groundbreaking Polish New Wave of the 1960s, his early films such as Identification Marks: None, Barrier, and Walkover encapsulated the alienation and restlessness of a generation of young Eastern Europeans coming of age against not only an older, established generation, but an entire system of bureaucratic confinement. His films, with their constantly on-the-move characters and relentlessly flowing camerawork (Walkover is comprised of only thirty-four takes), are taut with a raw power and a stifled energy that surprise to this day; after falling afoul of censors with the radical allegory Hands Up! Skolimowski himself was soon stifled. In 1967, he fled into exile in Western Europe, bringing a welcome surrealist, despairing, and ultimately Polish sensibility to a number of films over the next decade, including Deep End, made during the waning days of the swinging sixties; the Nabokov adaptation King Queen Knave; and the eerie fable The Shout.

Skolimowski’s masterful response to the Solidarity crackdown of 1981, Moonlighting, earned him further acclaim, but soon he abandoned filmmaking and moved to Southern California to concentrate on an acclaimed painting career. A few acting roles kept him within cinema’s reach, and in 2008, after a seventeen-year absence, he returned to filmmaking with a quiet tale of obsessive love, Four Nights with Anna, made back in his native Poland. 2010’s Essential Killing solidified his standing as one of the original European New Wave filmmakers who remain as important—and as essential—as ever.

Jason Sanders
Film Notes Writer

Friday, July 22, 2011
7:00 p.m. Deep End
Jerzy Skolimowski (Germany/U.K., 1970). London’s swinging sixties gets a gothic makeover in this tale of an awkward teenager’s crush on a mod coworker, set in a seedy public bath. Starring Jane Asher (Paul McCartney’s ex-girlfriend), with music by Cat Stevens and Can. “The most brilliantly baleful British comedy of the era” (Guide to World Cinema). (90 mins)

Friday, July 22, 2011
8:50 p.m. The Shout
Jerzy Skolimowski (U.K., 1978). A young couple (John Hurt, Susannah York) find their polite English afternoons interrupted by the arrival of a psychotic, seductive stranger (Alan Bates). With a jarring electronic-music score and a soundtrack by Genesis. “An intense, haunting work” (Michel Ciment). (86 mins)

Sunday, July 24, 2011
7:30 p.m. Identification Marks: None
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland, 1964). Skolimowski’s debut assembled several of his student shorts into one feature-length narrative about the last “free” hours of a young man about to join the army. One of the key films of the Polish New Wave. (73 mins)

Thursday, July 28, 2011
7:00 p.m. Walkover
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland, 1966). A jaded part-time boxer and fulltime malcontent experiences all the wrong edges of the Polish socialist “miracle”—dirty streets, crumbling factories, and seedy boxing rings—in Skolimowski’s technically innovative film, composed of only thirty-four long shots. With shorts The Menacing Eye, Little Hamlet, and Erotique. (90 mins)

Sunday, July 31, 2011
5:00 p.m. Barrier
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland, 1966). Skolimowski discarded traditional narratives for this bracingly confrontational New Wave examination of youth and society, filled with surreal images and nightmarish situations. Music by legendary composer Krzysztof Komeda. “Paradoxically both romantic and hard as nails . . . a devastating allegory of the Polish state of mind” (Monthly Film Bulletin). (83 mins)

Friday, August 5, 2011
7:00 p.m. Four Nights with Anna
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland/France, 2008). A lonely crematorium worker, treated as a social outcast, spies on a just-as-lonely woman, but then begins to enter her home as she sleeps, in Skolimowski’s mood-drenched, penetrating study of obsession and love. “An amazing film, hard, compact, and nonetheless funny” (Cahiers du Cinéma). Repeated on August 7. (87 mins)

Friday, August 5, 2011
8:50 p.m. King Queen Knave
Jerzy Skolimowski (Germany/U.S, 1972). A bumbling orphan winds up in the care of his industrialist uncle and attractive aunt, and promptly begins breaking all the worst taboos, in this clever satire on the kinks of the well-mannered rich. David Niven and Gina Lollobrigida anchor Skolimowski’s adaptation of the famed Nabokov novel. (94 mins)

Sunday, August 7, 2011
5:00 p.m. Four Nights with Anna
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland/France, 2008). A lonely crematorium worker, treated as a social outcast, spies on a just-as-lonely woman, but then begins to enter her home as she sleeps, in Skolimowski’s mood-drenched, penetrating study of obsession and love. “An amazing film, hard, compact, and nonetheless funny” (Cahiers du Cinéma). Also playing on August 5. (87 mins)

Saturday, August 13, 2011
8:25 p.m. Hands Up!
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland, 1967/1981). Skolimowski’s cinematic provocation against politeness, conformity, and society was banned for over seventeen years by the Polish government before finally being released in 1981, with a newly shot prologue filmed in Beirut and London. “Startling in its originality, content, images, editing, and music” (Boleslaw Michalek). (76 mins)

Friday, August 19, 2011
7:00 p.m. Essential Killing
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland/Norway/Ireland/Hungary, 2010). Vincent Gallo is an escaped Taliban-like figure on the run in the wintry woods of Eastern Europe in Skolimowski’s primal exercise in cinema-as-movement, both a nightmarish commentary on the “war on terror” and a formal allegory on the very idea of fear. “Intriguing and disturbing” (Guardian). Repeated on August 20. (83 mins)

Friday, August 19, 2011
8:45 p.m. Moonlighting
Jerzy Skolimowski (U.K., 1982). A group of illegal Polish workers in London (led by Jeremy Irons) find themselves stranded after a Solidarity crackdown in their own country. “One of the best films ever made about exile” (New York Times). “A sly, affecting parable of Ordinary Bolshevism” (Time). Repeated on August 25. (97 mins)

Saturday, August 20, 2011
9:00 p.m. Essential Killing
Jerzy Skolimowski (Poland/Norway/Ireland/Hungary, 2010). Vincent Gallo is an escaped Taliban-like figure on the run in the wintry woods of Eastern Europe in Skolimowski’s primal exercise in cinema-as-movement, both a nightmarish commentary on the “war on terror” and a formal allegory on the very idea of fear. “Intriguing and disturbing” (Guardian). Also playing on August 19. (83 mins)

Thursday, August 25, 2011
7:00 p.m. Moonlighting
Jerzy Skolimowski (U.K., 1982). A group of illegal Polish workers in London (led by Jeremy Irons) find themselves stranded after a Solidarity crackdown in their own country. “One of the best films ever made about exile” (New York Times). “A sly, affecting parable of Ordinary Bolshevism” (Time). Also playing on August 19. (97 mins)

Series curated by Kathy Geritz. Presented in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute, New York. Additional support provided by the Polish National Film Archive and Polish National Film, Television, and Theatre School, Lodz. Special thanks to Natalia Babinski, Polish Cultural Institute; Haden Guest and David Pendleton, Harvard Film Archive; and David Schwartz, Museum of the Moving Image for their generous help in making this series possible. We would also like to acknowledge Sam Lefevre, Goldcrest Films; Kent Youngblood, MGM Distribution Company; Matt Jones, Moving Images Archive; Emily Horn, Paramount Pictures; Nicholas Varley, Park Circus; Izabela Kiszka, Polish Film Institute; and Liz Spaulding, Tribeca Enterprises.