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Polish New Wave - The History of a Phenomenon that Never Existed

Published on the occasion od the "Polish New Wave" project, curated by Łukasz Ronduda and Barbara Piwowarska, organized by Archfilm/Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Anthology Film Archives, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg, Polish Cultural Institute New York, with the generous support of the Polish Film Institute, Czarna Renia Foundation and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

"The Polish New Wave project and its accompaning publication is a long overdue and illuminating attempt to capture the phenomenon of Polish New Wave. Although the term was occasionally used in discourse on Polish cinema, it never caught on or gained a coherent meaning, in contrast to neighbouring Czechoslovakia, not to mention France. It is thus not surprising that the impulse to interrogate Polish New Wave was a recent film, Piotr Uklański's Summer Love.

Some essay authors, such as Mateusz Warner, Tadeusz Lubelski and Łukasz Ronduda, put this invisibility or marginalisation of the true New Wave in Polish cinema at the centre of their analysis. Others, such as Kuba Mikurda, Iwona Kurz and Piotr Kletowski, focus on specific examples of New Wave, the films of Skolimowski, Królikiewicz, Piwowski or Żuławski. While examples presented are quite varied, comprising features and documentary films, and belong to different periods of Polish history, they are linked by the directors' urge to break free of the established patterns of filmmaking.

Although Polish New Wave concerns specifically Polish cinema, the observations it contains and the approaches it offers should also be useful to researchers interested in European cinema at large." (Ewa Mazierska, University of Central Lancashire, UK)

"Polish New Wave presents cinema that examines and experiments with its own cinematic form. The direct inspiration for this project came from Summer Love, a recent feature film directed by Polish contemporary artist Piotr Uklański, which brings together the fields of contemporary art and professional film production. Existing in two parallel spheres (mass culture and the art institution), Summer Love can be described as the latest, radical new-wave gesture of Polish cinema. The idea of situating contemporary interdisciplinary artwork within the new-wave tradition has been further developed by the curators, serving as a pretext for the reconstruction of the history of Polish New Wave - a phenomenon that never existed.

The film program presents a selection of feature and documentary films made in the years 1964-2006. Part of an ongoing research into Polish cinema, this program features the work of filmmakers interested in the radicalisation of the filmic language. All of the works presented, each in their own way, transgress the traditional methods of narrative building characteristic of their genres. This unconventional treatment of the cinematic form situates these films somewhere between cinema and contemporary art. Due to the conscious conceptualisation and formal innovation, the majority of the works presented here could not enter mainstream circulation and were never fully appreciated by the conservative Polish film community; at the same time, the fact that many of them steered clear of using the discourse of contemporary art, had effectively excluded them from the context of the art institution. It needs to be pointed out that in the history of Polish cinema the New Wave, unlike the French Nouvelle Vague of the 1960's, never appeared as a precisely defined, distinct current. Therefore, by introducing the term 'Polish New Wave' we aim to define an ahistorical phenomenon permitting us to mark out a group of films that share a common domain between art and cinema, irrespective of the time and historical period of their making." ("Curators' Introdiction", Łukasz Ronduda, Barbara Piwowarska)
  • Polish New Wave. The History of a Phenomenon that Never Existed
    edited by Łukasz Ronduda, Barbara Piwowarska
    ISBN 978-83-61156-12-3
    Publishers: Adam Mickiewicz Institute; CCA Ujzadowski Castle, Warsaw 2008
    languages: english, polish
    224 pages, hard cover

Tags: polish cinemapolish filmnew wave

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