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KINOTEKA 2016: ‘Karbala’ (Łukaszewicz, 2015) – ‘the complexity of modern war’


Karbala is Polish director Krzysztof Łukaszewicz most recent film, released only in 2015 and nominated several times at the Polish Academy Awards, finally winning for Best Cinematography. Based on real events, the film recounts the story of Polish NATO soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2004, when, surrounded by Iraqi rebels, they were trying…

Julia Secklehner | April 8, 2016

KINOTEKA 2016: ‘Anatomy of Evil’ (Bromski, 2015) – ‘a superb thriller’


Jacek Bromski’s Anatomy of Evil, winner of the Gdynia Polish Film Festival in 2015, is certainly one of Kinoteka’s highlights this year. Allegedly based on a real events, it tells the story of Lulek, a former professional hit-man who, after a long stint in prison, is offered a job by his former prosecutor to redeem…

Julia Secklehner | April 7, 2016
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KINOTEKA 2016: ‘Strange Heaven’ (Gajewski, 2015) – an Up-to-the-Minute Tale of Immigration and Broken Dreams


After a lengthy absence from the big screen, Dariusz Gajewski marks his first foray back into feature-length production with Obce Niebo (Strange Heaven, 2015) –  written, directed, and produced by the Polish cinematographer. Following a seven-year hiatus, Gajewski has successfully returned to the director’s chair to craft a film both modern and relevant, but also with a charming…

Oliver Buxton | April 5, 2016
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Celebrating Zdeněk Svěrák´s 80th Birthday – ‘Elementary School’ (1991)


This year’s Easter Monday marked the 80th birthday of Zdeněk Svěrák, one of the Czech Republic’s most popular actors and film makers. To celebrate the occasion, 80 cinemas around the world showed his films, including London’s small Deptford cinema, which was all made up for the occasion with balloons and paper chains, announcing, in his…

Julia Secklehner | April 1, 2016
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Saviana Stanescu: ‘Aliens with Extraordinary Skills’, by Tales Told in Romanian


The first 100% Romanian play in London – created by Romanians for the  Romanian community – had its West End premiere at the Leicester Square Theatre. Suggestively called Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, it’s the product of determination and enthusiasm both on and off the stage.The artists involved have succeeded in bringing it to life through sheer self-belief, along…

Camelia Ciobanu | March 30, 2016
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Galician Family Stories: Matthew Zajac’s ‘The Tailor of Inverness’, a Dogstar Production


The Tailor of Inverness, a Dogstar production which premiered at Chats Palace in Hackney last week, tells the story of Mateusz Zajac, a Polish tailor from the former Eastern Polish region of Galicia. First performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008, the play’s told by Zajac’s son Matthew, the writer and the actor, who…

Olenka Hamilton | March 28, 2016

‘Eastern European for Dummies’ by There There Theatre Company


The provocative title Eastern European for Dummies, an ‘interactive immigration piece’ by There There theatre company, certainly gave a sense of what this show promised. At the start, only fifteen audience members were allowed into the room, equipped with an activity pack about Eastern Europeans (or, to use the abbreviation, EEs). Onstage an interactive exhibition…

Julia Secklehner | March 22, 2016
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‘The Burning Gadulka’ by Rayko Baychev, reviewed by Judith Fagelson


The gadulka’s role in a Bulgarian folk orchestra might be compared the viola’s in a Western classical orchestra. Like the viola, it has bowed strings. Like the viola, it supports the other instruments, providing a sort of musical backbone, but doesn’t quite work as a solo instrument. And, like violists, gadulka players find themselves the…

Judith Fagelson | March 10, 2016