On the centenary of establishing diplomatic relations between Poland and Japan, Poland Film Festival presented a special programme dedicated to relations between the two countries. The audience in Tokyo and Kyoto had an opportunity to watch twenty two Polish films screened at the event.
At the core of the festival's programme in 2019 were films related to connections between Poland and Japan. Among them were Gukoroku – Traces of Sin, a Japanese crime story created in collaboration with Polish cinematographer Piotr Niemyjski, and The Doll directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has. The choice to include the adaptation of Bolesław Prus’s famous novel in the programme was related to the release of its Japanese edition in 2018.
The face of Polish-Japanese collaboration in the field of culture is undoubtedly Andrzej Wajda, therefore it is not surprising that the Polish Film Festival showed both films he directed as well as devoted to him. The audience was able to watch Wajda’s iconic Ashes and Diamonds alongside a documentary about the Manggha Museum in Kraków and short films created in the Wajda School. A nod to the theme of the 2019's edition of the festival was his film Nastasja based on Fyodor Dostoyevski’s novel The Idiot. In the film both leading roles, Mishkin and Nastasja, are played by the same person, Tamasaburo Bando III. He was an onnagata – an actor in the traditional kabuki theatre specialising in female roles (in traditional theatre women did not perform on stage).
Recent Polish productions shown at the festival included Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War which had its Japanese premiere in 2019, The Butler directed by Filip Bajon and The Fastest by Łukasz Palkowski. In the lighter part of the programme two comedies were screened: Juliusz by Aleksander Pietrzak and Tadeusz Chmielewski’s classic I Hate Mondays.
Music at the 2019 Poland Film Festival was represented by a documentary dedicated to Krzysztof Komeda and four concerts of the duo SzaZa comprised of Paweł Szamburski and Patryk Zakrocki. The musicians created live music for excerpts from early 20th century animations by Władysław Starewicz and Roman Polański’s early short films.
Concerts of the duo SzaZa – Szamburski/Zakrocki
Sza/Za Plays Polański
- 20th November 2019 8:00 pm Demachi-za, Kyoto
- 22nd November 2019 7:30 pm Tokyo Photographic Museum, Tokyo
Sza/Za Plays Starewicz
- 20th November 2019 6:30 pm Demachi-za, Kyoto
- 23rd November 2019 10:30 am Tokyo Photographic Museum, Tokyo
The project was organised with the support of the Polish Institute in Tokyo.
Partners of the project were: Melody Tours, PLL LOT, KGHM Polska Miedź.
Source: promotional materials, originally written in Polish by AW, 4 Nov 2019, translated by AW, 8 Nov 2019