26th July, 13:00
Shown in Gdynia on the Horizon with:
Behind the Wall, Bleak Moments
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Gdynia on the Horizon
subtitles: Polish and English

Gdynia on the Horizon is an artistic event specially prepared by Michał Oleszczyk, artistic director of the Film Festival in Gdynia, that will be held in partnership with the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival. The event will consist of double bills, during which audiences will have an opportunity to watch two films: one foreign and one Polish. The titles are selected in such a way that, together, they create a dynamic – thematic, formal, cultural – dialogue.

Following the screenings, Oleszczyk will conduct workshops for the public in which he will analyze, together with audiences, the similarities and differences between the two films. The purpose of these meetings is to point out the fascinating combination of artistic, formalistic, and political factors that influence the final outcome of a film project and, more than anything, to discuss where Polish cinema fits in an international context.

Behind the Wall
Za ścianą
Poland 1971 / 56’
director: Krzysztof Zanussi
screenplay: Krzysztof Zanussi, Edward Żebrowski
cinematography: Jan Hesse
editing: Urszula Śliwińska
cast: Maja Komorowska, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Eugenia Herman, Piotr Garlicki
producer: Jerzy Buchwald
production: Zespół Filmowy Tor / TVP
sales: TVP
awards: San Remo IFF 1971 – Best Actress (Maja Komorowska)
language: Polish
colouration: b&w

Professor Jan is satisfied with his academic career as a biologist, but, despite his social refinements, he finds himself alone in life. A chance meeting with his neighbor, Anna, creates an opportunity for him to have an intimate relationship with another person, but the clumsy flirtation between the two intellectuals seems, right from the beginning, to be doomed to failure … This television masterpiece by Krzysztof Zanussi is a black-and-white miniature of human behavior, anxieties, and aspirations whose power has not been diminished over the years. The actors’ controlled improvisation in many scenes makes the entirety of the film seem incredibly authentic, while, at the same time, making the viewer aware of the extent of the loneliness that the protagonists are dealing with. One of the most extraordinary of Polish films, it is still rarely seen and appears to be related in spirit to the work of Mike Leigh, who also made his start the same year, 1971.

Michał Oleszczyk

Krzysztof Zanussi

Born in 1939 in Warsaw, Krzysztof Zanussi is one of Poland’s most successful filmmakers. Working as a director, screenwriter, and teacher, his credits include outstanding films such as Struktura kryształu (The Structure of Crystal) (1969) and Iluminacja (The Illumination) (1973). Known for his moralistic and philosophical approach to life, he has been exploring the subjects of good, evil, and human mortality in his films for many years, and he is one of the main filmmakers involved in the so-called Cinema of Moral Anxiety. He won a Golden Lion at Venice for Rok spokojnego słońca (A Year of the Quiet Sun) (1984).

Selected filmography:

1969 Struktura kryształu / The Structure of Crystal

1972 Iluminacja / The Illumination

1980 Constans / Constancy

1984 Rok spokojnego słońca / A Year of the Quiet Sun

2000 Życie jako śmiertelna choroba przenoszona drogą płciową / Life As a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease

Bleak Moments
Great Britain 1971 / 106’
director: Mike Leigh
screenplay: Mike Leigh
cinematography: Bahram Manocheri
editing: Les Blair
cast: Anne Raitt, Sarah Stephenson, Eric Allan, Joolia Cappleman
producer: Les Blair
production: Autumn Productions, Memorial Enterprises, British Film Institute Production
sales: Richard Dacre
awards: Locarno IFF 1972 – Golden Leopard
language: English
colouration: colour

Sylvia is an ordinary office worker around 30 years of age. Her life revolves around her daily work, which gives her little satisfaction, and caring for her mentally handicapped sister. At some point, Sylvia gets involved with two men: a messed-up derelict and an uptight teacher who is too much in control of his feelings. The film is an observation of Sylvia’s relationships with both men and of how she tries to change her own colorless existence. Mike Leigh’s full-length debut fully reveals his talent for observation, as well as his unconventional work with actors. The screenplay for the film was barely an outline, and the scenes and dialogue were worked out by the actors and the director during lengthy, theater-like rehearsals. The result is strikingly authentic: fans of Mike Leigh will find the seeds of some of the subjects that will be repeated throughout all of his work, including the oddity of everyday behavior, the need for love, the inability to have a happy life, and the class structure of British society.

Michał Oleszczyk

Mike Leigh

Born in 1943 in Brocket Hall in southern England, Mike Leigh is a playwright, screenwriter, and director who has been active in both theater and film since the mid-1960s. Up until the end of the 1980s, he was mainly known for his television work (Abigail’s Party, Nuts in May), while he is currently one of the most successful filmmakers in the world of cinema. Combining a realistic view of the world with exaggeration and caricature, he is an outstanding director of actors known for his love of improvisation.

Selected filmography:

1996 Sekrety i kłamstwa / Secrets & Lies

1988 Wysokie aspiracje / High Hopes

2002 Wszystko albo nic / All or Nothing

2010 Kolejny rok / Another Year

2014 Pan Turner / Mr. Turner

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