Film Society of Lincoln Center and Polish Cultural Institute Announce Event
On January 8th and 10th, two classics by Polish filmmakers will be presented: an experimental short by Franciszka and Stefan Themerson, Calling Mr. Smith (1943), and a feature biopic by the legendary Polish director Aleksander Ford: The Youth of Chopin (1951). The avant-garde propaganda film Calling Mr. Smith employs classical music to emphasize its anti-Nazi message. The Youth of Chopin — which features compelling performances by actor Czesław Wołłejko, pianist Halina Czerny-Stefanska, the winner of 1949 International Chopin Piano Competition, and the great violinist Wanda Wilkomirska – was one of the first postwar Polish films to receive international attention and remains the most comprehensive portrait of the composer as a man faced with the social and political transformations of the 19th century, to which he responded with his unique music.
The International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Film
Friday, January 8 at 4:30 PM, Sunday, January 10 at 1:00 PM; Tuesday, January 12 at 3:15 PM
January 8th, 10th, and 12th will feature a documentary program focused on the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. This unique treat for both music connoisseurs and historical documentary buffs will feature Born in Warsaw by Maria Kwiatkowska and Under the Sign of Chopin by Stanisław Możdżeński, both of which mix archival footage from International Chopin Piano Competitions throughout the years and shed light on now-legendary performances by Krystian Zimerman, Martha Argerich, Maurizio Pollini, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fou Ts’Ong, Bernard Ringeissen, and Adam Harasiewicz. A rare, restored copy of a Polish archival newsreel from 1965 will also be included in the program.
Impromptu, dir. James Lapine, UK/France 1991, 107 min.
Friday, January 8, 9:00 PM; Tuesday, January 12, 1:00 PM
Impromptu, which stars Hugh Grant as Fryderyk Chopin and Judy Davis as George Sand, portrays the intriguing personalities of the two artists, who are alternately drawn to and alienated from each other.
Feature films selected for Chopin in Cinema include two more European productions: The Strange Case of Delphina Potocka or The Mystery of Chopin by Tony Palmer (March 6th), and Andrzej Żuławski’s The Blue Note (May 8th), allowing for comparison of different interpretations of the composer’s biography.
The Strange Case of Delphina Potocka or The Mystery of Chopin, by Tony Palmer is a cinematic interpretation of a classical composer’s music and life by the veteran British director, whose work includes films with and about other composers ranging from Benjamin Britten to Frank Zappa. Here, Palmer investigates an imputed dalliance between Chopin and the illustrious Polish Countess Potocka, which remains a mystery even today.
The Blue Note, directed by the poète maudit of Polish cinema Andrzej Zulawski, is a visually stunning story about the composer’s last days, which were spent at George Sand’s estate in Nohant together with her and her daughter, Solange. The great Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak plays the role of Chopin.
On April 10th, a program of experimental and animated short films that have been thematically or formally inspired by the art of the composer will be presented. Fryderyk Chopin in Experimental Film features The Orchestra (1990) by Zbigniew Rybczynski, one of the greatest visual experiments in the history of film technology and computers, and one of the first HD-format films ever made. Such diverse films as Color Studies of Chopin (1944) by Eugeniusz Cekalski, Attention: Light! (2004) by Jozef Robakowski, Chop, Chop, Chop, Chopin(1999) by Mariusz Wilczynski, and Novi Singers (1995) by Daniel Szczechura explore the rhythmical connections between Chopin's compositions and light, color, and shape in the cinema.
A calendar of screenings follows. For film descriptions and more information on Chopin and the bicentenary concerts in New York, visit www.PolishCulture-NYC.org
WHAT: Romance in Light: Fryderyk Chopin and the Cinema
WHEN: January 8 – May 8, 2010. Calendar of screenings follows.
WHERE: Walter Reade Theater, 165 W 65th Street, New York, NY 10023
DIRECTIONS: by subway: 1 to 66th Street/Lincoln Center. By bus: M5, M7, M10, M11, M66 and M104 all stop near Lincoln Center.