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‘Documenting Ukraine: Day 4’ at the Frontline Club, by Judith Fagelson


It’s about time British people saw a rounded portrayal of Ukraine. Since conflict first broke out in November 2013, Ukraine has dominated our screens on and off, yet most of us are no closer to understanding what’s going on than we were a year and a half ago. We are fed a sensationalist, two-dimensional caricature…

Judith Fagelson | 22/05/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘Knife in the Water’ (Polanski, 1962) reviewed by Julia Secklehner


Knife in the Water is one of the best known Polish films of all time – if not the best –  not least because it was directed by Roman Polanski, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1963. It’s a deceptively simple film, played by only three actors, focusing exclusively on the interactions between…

Julia Secklehner | 17/05/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘The Wedding’ (Wajda, 1972) reviewed by Julia Secklehner


Drenched in Polish folklore and produced with the help of the State ethnographic museum, Wajda’s The Wedding confronts us with a host of questions about Polish history that require some background knowledge to be  fully understood. The film starts of course with a wedding, which frames events throughout – but there’s more to it than that.…

Julia Secklehner | 17/05/2015
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‘Pripyat’ (Geyrhalter, 1999), reviewed by Nick Barlay


‘They call it the Zone,’ says Mr.Rudchenko, sitting beside his equally aged wife in their broken home in the middle of the Ukrainian town of Pripyat. ‘But does barbed wire stop radiation?’ His question, however, was no barrier to the couple returning to their life-long home in the so-called Zone of Alienation that runs for…

Nick Barlay | 15/05/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘Provincial Actors’ (Holland, 1979), reviewed by Valenka Navea


To describe Provincial Actors (1979), Agnieska Holland’s first film,  as psychological is an understatement. The film is a rare thing, managing to balance characterization with a polemical heart, without ever resorting to cliché. The plot – self-reflective yet never over-burdened – revolves around a group of actors exploring themes in a forthcoming theatre production of Stanislaw’s Wyspianski’s…

Valenka Navea | 11/05/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘The Promised Land’ (Wajda, 1974) reviewed by Ian Mole


The Promised Land  (Wajda, 1974) is based on the novel by Władysław Reymont  and won first prize at the Moscow Film Festival. Set in Łódź in the late 19th Century – the Polish Industrial Revolution in full swing –  it tells the tale of three young men from wealthy backgrounds who want to build their own textile…

Ian Mole | 11/05/2015

Kinoteka 2015: ‘Austeria’ (Kawalerowicz, 1983), reviewed by Nick Barlay


In a remote eastern part of the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia, near the border of the Russian empire, the local Jews are in flight. It’s the first day of the First World War and the Cossacks are coming. With the sounds of conflict rising on the breeze, several wagon-loads of Jewish families arrive at an…

Nick Barlay | 06/05/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘Innocent Sorcerers’ (Wajda, 1960), reviewed by Jo Varney


Released in 1960, Wajda’s Innocent Sorcerers is a provocative and even beautiful film about contemporary youth in Poland. It has a bohemian charm and depicts the lives of a group of insouciant young men and women in late 1950s Warsaw as an endless round of drinking, smoking and flirtation,  in mouldering jazz dens. The eternal…

Jo Varney | 03/05/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘Man of Iron’ (Wajda, 1981) reviewed by Mark Crossey


Andrzej Wajda’s Man of Iron,  Oscar nominated and winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1981, was sequel to the well received and equally forthright Man of Marble (1977), and covers much the same theme – the individual’s downfall in the communist state. Yet unlike the earlier film,  Man of Iron came hard on the heels…

Mark Crossey | 01/05/2015
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Kinoteka 2015: ‘Walkover’ (Skolimowski, 1965) reviewed by Judith Fagelson


Jerzy Skolimowski’s alter-ego, Andrzej Leszczyc, makes his second appearance in the 1965 film Walkover. Brooding and directionless, he arrives in a nondescript industrial city where he runs into Teresa Karczewska, an old friend from university, now an engineer working on the construction of a new power plant. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Andrzej…

Judith Fagelson | 28/04/2015