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EXHIBITION REVIEW: ‘Postponed Futures’ at GRAD: the best show in London on the Russian Revolution – by far

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Postponed Futures is really quite something. In a year when London’s saturated with exhibitions about the Russian Revolution in its centenary year, the show’s curator, Nikita Kadan, has forged a different response. He shows a Ukrainian exhibition, political and thought-provoking, which reminds us not to forget what’s going on amid the celebrations: a war in…

Julia Secklehner | May 18, 2017
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KINOTEKA REVIEW: ‘The Last Stage’ – Wanda Jakubowska’s 1948 retelling of the Holocaust has lost none of its shocking narrative power

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Wanda Jakubowska’s The Last Stage (Ostatni Etap) is one of the world’s earliest feature films about the Holocaust, premiering in Poland as early as March 1948. It’s also a personal narrative: partly based on Jakubowska’s own experiences at Birkenau women’s camp at Auschwitz, The Last Stage chronicles life in the camp from a personal angle, filmed on…

Julia Secklehner | April 2, 2017
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KINOTEKA REVIEW: ‘The Eccentrics: The Sunny Side of the Street’ (Majewski, 2015) – Big Band 1950s drama never quite tinkles the ivories

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Janusz Majewski’s film The Eccentrics (Excentrycy) bagged several awards at the Polish Academy Awards in 2016, including best supporting actor and actress (Wojciech Pszoniak and Anna Dymna), and best film score. Least surprising is the latter, given that it’s a musical comedy, which focuses on a Jazz Big Band in 1950s communist Poland. Fabian Apanowicz…

Julia Secklehner | March 25, 2017
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THEATRE REVIEW: ‘Voices from Chernobyl’ – Ténéré Arte’s brilliant, ghostly retelling of the world’s worst nuclear disaster

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Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl collected the testimonies of survivors from the nuclear disaster: military personnel, medical professionals, and, most importantly, ordinary people. Her book is a series of stories that tell the untold: how little the people in the Soviet Union, and especially the Ukraine and Belarus, knew about what happened the night the…

Julia Secklehner | March 12, 2017
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FILM AND DISCUSSION: Alois Nebel (2012)

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  Endless train timetables. Russian border patrol. Patches of forest that swallow you up. A thick fog that brings it memories of a time long gone. Anything but an ordinary film, Tomáš Luňák’s interpretation of Jaromir99’s graphic novel trilogy about the train dispatcher Alois Nebel is a full-length, animated drama, playing at a pivotal moment…

Julia Secklehner | March 7, 2017
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REVIEW: Dash Cafe – Odessa: a city of Rogues and Schnorrers

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‘Cigars and delicate silks, cocaine and metal files, loose-leaf tobacco from the state of Virginia and black wine purchased on the isle of Chios. Every object had its price; they washed down each figure with Bessarabian wine, which smelt of sunshine and bedbugs.’ This is how Odessian-born writer Isaac Babel (1894-1940) describes the riches of the port-…

Julia Secklehner | March 1, 2017
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Illuminating the Past: an Interview with ‘Neon’ film-maker Eric Bednarski

In ‘Neon’, Eric Bednarski’s award-winning 2014 documentary, the history of Warsaw is traced through its neon lights. It’s a retelling of Polish history, mixing documentary features from several decades, focusing in on small stories alongside the great events of the recent past. We caught up with the Director here.  CEEL: How did you come to choose neon…

Julia Secklehner | February 25, 2017
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EXHIBITION REVIEW: Black Hole Generation: ‘The Kings are Back’ – Returning empty-handed?

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Black Hole Generation (BHG) is a Prague-based collective of young artists, whose core members, David Krňanský, Martin Lukáč and Julius Reichel, are now showing eighteen works at London’s small Dot Project Gallery. Having studied together at UMPRUM, Prague’s Academy for Arts and Design, one of the most innovative institutions in the country, BHG undoubtedly aims…

Julia Secklehner | February 24, 2017
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FILM REVIEW: ‘Neon’ (2014) – Eric Bednarski’s electric account of Warsaw’s City Lights

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In this award-winning documentary, director Eric Bednarski traces the history of Poland’s capital through the city’s neon lights – merging design, politics and history in an ambitiously innovative project. It’s a retelling of Polish history, so often the subject of grand films that exploit the emotional weight of its traumatic turns from Nazism to Stalinism.…

Julia Secklehner | February 20, 2017