Polish Film Classics on BFI Player

Committed cinema-goers in the UK have long been aware of the work of directors such as Andrzej Wajda whose films intermittently found distribution or regularly appeared at festivals here. However it has required some diligence to discover work that gained more prominence in Poland than internationally, and even more to be able to see it.

It is exciting, therefore, to be able to present, across the UK, a section of newly digitised titles from two of the most important film studios in Poland. From the first film by Jerzy Skolimowski, to Andrzej Żuławski’s enigmatic cult masterpiece and one of the top 10 Polish comedies of all time, these titles represent a diverse panorama across film history in mid-late 20th century Poland.

KADR Studio was the oldest state owned film studio, founded in 1955. It offered an unique structure for artists to develop their work and aside from being the original home to the Polish Film School, offered the creative space for directors including Sass, Holland, Kutz and Has to make films, many of which since became recognised as ground breaking contributions to cinematic history. Recognising the importance of this history KADR became involved in digital remastering from 2008.

Since 1988, when Juliusz Machulski set up Zebra Film Studio, the company made over 30 films. Directors working here included Władysław Pasikowski and Piotr Szulkin. They have prioritised preserving Poland’s cultural heritage by both restoring and digitising their catalogue in consultation with the film-makers.

Many studios were merged into the new Documentary and Feature Film Production Company in 2019. Under this umbrella the preservation of cultural heritage has continued enabling us to share with you titles that confirm the richness of Polish cinema in this programme. Start exploring...

You can access all of these films on BFI Player at player.bfi.org.uk from 11 March to 7 April.

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