A GENTLE SPIRIT dir. Piotr Dumała // A HIGHLY COMMITTED FILM dir. Julian Antonisz // CAGES dir. Mirosław Kijowicz // DANNY BOY dir. Marek Skrobecki // DOCUMENTARY dir. Marcin Podolec // HIPPOS dir. Piotr Dumała // JOURNEY dir. Daniel Szczechura // KIZI MIZI dir. Mariusz Wilczyński // LABYRITNH reż. Jan Lenica // OH MOTHER! dir. Paulina Ziółkowska // PUSSY dir. Renata Gąsiorowska // RED & BLACK reż Witold Giersz // SHIVERING TRUNKS dir. Natalia Brożyńska // SOLO IN A FALLOW FIELD dir. Jerzy Kalina // SON dir. Ryszard Czekała // SWEET RHYTHMS dir. Kazimierz Urbański // TANGO dir. Zbigniew Rybczyński // WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? dir. Ewa Borysewicz // ZIEGENORT dir. Tomasz Popakul
LABYRITNH dir. Jan Lenica
This film represents the philosophical and reflective strand of Polish animation. Its fans observed the world around them reflected in the fate of the ordinary, grey man and looked for philosophical generalisations. Labyrinth shows Jan Lenica’s gallows humour and surrealist ideas.
RED & BLACK dir. Witold Giersz
Red and Black was very successful worldwide. The directorintroduced a very humourous convention, in which he in fact participates personally – he shows his own self on the screen, playing together with his drawn characters. The plot is centred around a bullfight, which – thanks to the use of a variety of artistic solutions – becomes not only visually exquisite, but also light, funny, and timeless.
SWEET RHYTHMS dir. Kazimierz Urbański
Kineplastyka / Kinetic art was proclaimed by Kazimierz Urbański as an equivalent to a static artwork and incorporates multidimensional movement on-screen. It was the starting point for all his films. The director embarked on creating Sweet Rhythms inspired by matter and its abstract kinetic properties rather than by scenario.
CAGES dir. Mirosław Kijowicz
Mirosław Kijowicz, the art historian and painter, worked with deceptively simple line drawings that belied their subversive political underpinnings. What can a human deprived of freedom do? Does human dignity depend on freedom? Kijowicz not only entertained, but also asked philosophical questions through his films. Cages is accompanied by the fantastic music of legendary Polish jazz composer Krzysztof Komeda.
JOURNEY dir. Daniel Szczechura
Daniel Szczechura gives bitter, melancholic renderings of Polish domestic life. Journey goes even further: ‘it’s a purposeful provocation,’ says the artist. ‘Nothing happens. But whoever makes it to the end and lets themself be hypnotised by the film will be satisfied in the end. This is my most controversial film.’ The work opened new doors for the genre.
SON dir. Ryszard Czekała
Ryszard Czekała found meaning in storytelling. His short animations went in the direction of documentary and feature films. Son is one of his most popular films. It’s the alluring story of a son’s visit to his parents’ house in the countryside. Exploring unrequited love and longing, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful films in the history of Polish animation.
A HIGHLY COMMITTED FILM dir. Julian Antonisz
The Kraków-based Studio Miniatur Filmowych was one of the most important centres of development for Polish animation in the late 1960s. This is where Julian Józef Antoniszczak (Antonisz) made his debut. Antonisz left his mark on the history of Polish animation with the non-camera technique. A Highly Committed Film is a parody of a TV report and, at the same time, a critique of the realities of the Polish People’s Republic.
TANGO dir. Zbigniew Rybczyński
Tango is probably the best-known short animation in Poland and most certainly the animator’s biggest success. The short received an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1983. The film exhibits a plethora of social roles. In a room, a number of characters come and go. There’s a boy playing football, another one exercising; a mother breastfeeding her child. There’s a plumber and a dying woman, as well as a couple which takes her place after she passes away.
SOLO IN A FALLOW FIELD dir. Jerzy Kalina
This seven-minute-long film by Jerzy Kalina is an anti-ballad about the hardships faced by a farmer. To the words of a song about the ‘beloved homeland’, the protagonist painstakingly does his work, while the animation becomes a documentary and vice versa.
A GENTLE SPIRIT dir. Piotr Dumała
Piotr Dumała’s most accomplished film is The Gentle One (1985). It’s an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s short story of the same name. The effect of a table turning into a bed, as well as a clock into a square, is achieved through a technique the animator created – scratching an image out of black plaster.
DANNY BOY dir. Marek Skrobecki
The protagonist of the story inspired by a popular song Danny Boy is a young man wandering aimlessly the streets of an anonymous city. What enhances his feeling of loneliness is the fact that he is distinctly different from others. One day a girl appears on his way – will she accept his otherness?; maybe she will reject him? The film is an ironic social satire; it discusses a current problem of alienation of an individual and individual’s place in the structure of the society.
ZIEGENORT dir. Tomasz Popakul
Fish Boy is a teenager facing the challenges of growing up. His problems are especially severe, as he is different from all others: He is half boy, half fish. His drama is set against the background of a seemingly idyllic fishing village, where is father wants to teach him how to become a fisherman. The boy‘s struggle with the stigma of rejection takes place in several dimensions of interpersonal relationships. Ultimately, it also affects Fish Boy‘s relationship with himself.
SHIVERING TRUNKS dir. Natalia Brożyńska
Pafnucy – furry butterfingers with a latex trunk – is dissatisfied with his face. He looks at the photos of Kalasanty with envy thinking that Kalasanty is a real role model, vibrant with health and cheerfulness. At the same time lonely Kalasanty experiences similar dilemmas… A simple story exploding with amazing sense of humour and full of wisdom, a story about the destructive power of negative emotions where the narration based on the director’s monologue.
OH MOTHER! dir. Paulina Ziółkowska
Mother and son are changing places and roles constantly: once, the mother is an adult, sometimes son matures and takes care of suddenly childish mother. The arrangement works fine, until the boy decides to escape from under the skirt of the overprotective mother and start an independent life.
HIPPOS dir. Piotr Dumała
A few naked women and children are bathing in a river. They are being secretly observed by a group of men, who, at one point decide to approach them, in a violent manner, as if inspired by the behaviour of hippopotamuses.
Polish Animation Days project is co-financed within the multiannual program NIEPODLEGŁA for 2017-2022, as a part of Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s “Cultural bridges” grant program