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Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

Martin Scorsese has curated a selection of landmark Polish films, all newly restored, from some of the country's most accomplished and lauded filmmakers, such as Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Jerzy Kawalerowicz and Wojciech Has. Zanussi will appear in person as the Academy launches the series on May 2 with a screening of two of his films: the acidic college comedy Camouflage and the stirring drama The Constant Factor. The remaining series spans 1957–1987 and encompasses the mind-bending absurdism of The Hourglass Sanatorium, the noir-tinted existentialism of Night Train, the New Wave eccentricities of Innocent Sorcerers, the period elegance of The Promised Land and much more. In partnership with the Cinefamily, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen 19 of Scorsese's 21 selections across two venues and over two months.

Organized by Propaganda Foundation, DI Factory, CRF and The Film Foundation, in cooperation with Kino RP, Milestone Films, Tor, Zebra and Kadr, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, the Polish Film Institute and the Polish National Audiovisual Institute. The series runs from May 2 through June 24.

Friday, May 2

Piotr Garlicki

A slyly absurdist comedy set against the petty machinations of academia, Camouflage is set in a provincial summer school camp in the throes of a competition. The shallowness and cynicism of this milieu becomes apparent through the relationship between a young linguistics professor, Jaroslaw, and his jaded senior colleague, Jakub.   More

The Constant Factor
Friday, May 2

Tadeusz Bradecki

Warmly received at the Cannes Festival, where it won two awards, Krzysztof Zanussi's stirring drama portrays a naïve but well-meaning young electrician, Witold, as he faces the hard truths of his world. He dreams of ascending the Himalayas — a snowy vision Zanussi cuts to throughout, accented by Wojciech Kilar's mighty score — just as his father had done before him.   More

Ashes and Diamonds
Friday, May 9

Zbigniew Cybulski

A masterpiece from the golden age of world cinema, Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds is set on the last day of World War II and the first day of peace – and between them, a night that changes everything. The film is largely seen through the eyes of Maciek, a young resistance soldier who begins the film by botching an assassination attempt.   More

Night Train
Friday, May 9

Jerzy Kawalerowicz

A noirish psychological study and a hazily expressionistic tale of solitude, Night Train brings together two lonesome voyagers on an overnight train journey to the Baltic coast worthy of Hitchcock. Around them, a microcosm of the human experience plays out in the speeding railcars’ shadowy, cramped quarters. Is a runaway murderer in their midst?   More

Innocent Sorcerers
Friday, May 16

Krystyna Stypulkowska

The French New Wave meets postwar Warsaw in this freewheeling boy-meets-girl comedy about a bohemian doctor-cum-jazz-drummer and his long, crazy night with a gamine beauty (Krystyna Stypulkowska in her screen debut). An early Andrzej Wajda gem, Innocent Sorcerers boasts an all-star cast of Polish cinematic luminaries.   More

The Promised Land
Friday, May 16

Karol Borowiecki and Andrzej Seweryn

In turn-of-the-century Łódź , three friends — a Polish nobleman, Karol Borowiecki; a German, Max Baum; and a Jew, Moritz Welt — shrink from nothing, including treachery and fraud, to build an industrial empire. In the footsteps of Dickens, writer-director Andrzej Wajda paints a bleak, sprawling picture of a chaotic city littered with dangerous factories and a maelstrom of conflicting cultures and classes.   More

Blind Chance
Friday, May 23

Boguslaw Linda

One moment, one event — three completely different outcomes. From esteemed director Krzysztof Kieślowski comes a film examining the effects of even the smallest of choices. A young medical student’s life is forever changed by three subtle variations of the same innocuous episode.   More

A Short Film About Killing
Friday, May 23

Jan Tesarz

On a grey March day, the paths of three men cross in the same café as idealistic lawyer Piotr celebrates passing his bar exam while 20-year-old Jacek prepares to murder cabbie Marian. Krzysztof Kieślowski’s unflinching film is a psychological and ethical study of murder, both by individuals and by the State.   More

The Hourglass Sanatorium
Friday, May 30

Jan Nowicki

Wojciech Jerzy Has’s surrealist The Hourglass Sanatorium is a visionary reflection on the nature of time and the irreversibility of death. A young man embarks on a journey to see his dying father and succumbs to a procession of hallucinatory encounters on the grounds of a mystical, dilapidated hospice.   More

Mother Joan of the Angels
Friday, May 30

Lucyna Winnicka

A virtuous, young priest is sent to a remote convent to investigate an outbreak of demonic possession that has left his predecessor burnt at the stake. A chamber drama worthy of Dreyer or Bergman, Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s spellbinding film  traces the struggle between the calmly righteous exorcist and his slippery target, Mother Joan, who claims to have eight demons raging within her.   More

The Saragossa Manuscript
Monday-Tuesday June 2 and 3 — Cinefamily

Zbigniew Cybulski

Written by Tadeusz Kwiatkowski, based on the novel by Jan Potocki and directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has.   More

Man of Iron
Tuesday, June 3

Jerzy Radziwilowicz

Foreign Language Film nominee and winner of the Palme d'Or, Andrzej Wajda's examination of a shipyard workers' strike, set during the formative years of Poland's Solidarity movement, includes a brief appearance by future Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa.   More

The Hourglass Sanatorium
Sunday-Tuesday June 8, 9, 10 and 11 — Cinefamily

Jan Nowicki

Encore screenings of Wojciech Jerzy Has's surrealist visionary reflection on the nature of time and the irreversibility of death.   More

Black Cross
Tuesday, June 10


The most-viewed Polish film of all time, this medieval epic about the heroic campaign against the invading Knights of the Teutonic Order features mounted battles, political maneuverings and a tragic romance.   More

Tuesday, June 17


Filmed extensively on location in Uzbekistan and Egypt with a cast of thousands, Pharaoh, a Foreign Language Film nominee, delves into the brief and tumultuous reign of Ramses XIII during the 12th century B.C.   More

Tuesday, June 24

EROICA, 1958

Directed by Andrezj Munk, this black comedy subtitled A Heroic Symphony in Two Parts follows two victims of war: a cowardly bon vivant who bumbles his way through the doomed Warsaw Uprising, and a POW who wants to escape his fellow inmates as much as he does his German captors.   More

Tuesday, June 24

JUMP, 1965

In this Kafkaesque tale, a mysterious stranger, played by popular Polish actor Zbigniew Cybulski, leaps off a moving train and finds himself marooned in an eerie, largely abandoned hamlet that seems to exist between dreams and reality.   More


Event Information

May 2–June 24, 2014
Bing Theater
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

*In June, "The Saragossa Manuscript" and "The Hourglass Sanatorium" will screen at The Cinefamily, 611 N. Fairfax Avenue.

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