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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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OGNISKO KINOCLUB REVIEW: ’80 Million’: Ocean’s 11 meets Solidarity in Waldemar Krzystek’s fast-paced thriller

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In 80 Million, the 2011 film from Waldemar Krzystek, Ocean’s 11 meets the Solidarity Movement in 1980s Poland. It’s fast paced, witty, fun and easy, yet driven by an idealism which the American blockbuster lacks. Directed by Waldemar Krzystek in 2011, it’s set the tone for a new way of approaching Poland’s experience of communism. ‘We didn’t…

Paula Erizanu | March 23, 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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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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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
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THEATRE REVIEW: Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ (Hemar Theatre) at Ognisko Polskie

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Ognisko Polskie, the Polish Hearth Club, is an exquisite venue: glistening chandeliers please the eye, red velvet lines the elegant staircases; this quiet haven in South Kensington is full of Old World charm. Last Saturday night, a traditional version of Chekhov’s play The Seagull was produced here. Set on a lake estate in Imperial Russia,…

Andreea Scridon | February 12, 2017
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THEATRE REVIEW: Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’ at the Union Theatre – simplified production deserves the benefit of the doubt

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Tracy Letts’ adaptation of Chekhov’s 1900 play – directed by Phil Wilmott – gives an English, deadpan intonation to Russian humor. The expansive, often ironic comedy characteristic of Chekhov’s plays persists even though Letts has cut and altered considerable portions of the original text. The layout of the Union Theatre in Southwark, which has the…

Andreea Scridon | January 27, 2017