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Film Society of Lincoln Center and Polish Cultural Institute Announce Event

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin’s birth, The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Polish Cultural Institute in New Yorkjoin forces to present a comprehensive series of films inspired by the life and art of the great Polish composer. Filmmakers around the world have explored Chopin’s legacy since the beginning of the film era.

Press Release from The Film Society of Lincoln Center and The Polish Cultural Institute in New York

New York, January 4, 2010 -- Celebrating the 200th anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin’s birth, The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Polish Cultural Institute in New Yorkjoin forces to present a comprehensive series of films inspired by the life and art of the great Polish composer. Filmmakers around the world have explored Chopin’s legacy since the beginning of the film era. Ranging from drama to documentary and from animation to experiment, with rarely screened,  archival footage included as well, the films in this series reveal the cinema’s fascination with Chopin’s music and his dramatic biography, fraught as it was with illness, stormy love affairs, and exile from his homeland.

Romance in Light: Fryderyk Chopin and the Cinema is presented by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, in association with the Polish National Film Archive and National Polish Television. All films will be screened at the Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th Street, New York City, between January 8th and May 8th, 2010. Six diverse programs will be presented, highlighted by the visually stunning The Blue Note by Andrzej Zulawski, starring Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak and Sophie Marceau (May 8), and James Lapine’s Impromptu, starring Hugh Grant and Judy Davis (Jan 8 and 12); as well as a program of experimental films, including one of the world’s most innovative: The Orchestra by Academy Award winner Zbigniew Rybczynski (April10). The series launches with three programs in January. Detailed program follows.

March 1, 2010 will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Fryderyk Chopin, the great Polish composer. Born in Zelazowa Wola, then the Russian partition of Poland, Chopin left his homeland in 1830, during the violently suppressed November Uprising, and would never return. He joined the Great Emigration of Poland’s cultural elite in Paris. Having refused to apply for his passport at the Russian embassy, he became an émigré without the right to return to Warsaw. He died in Paris in 1849 at the age of thirty-nine. Chopin’s musical sensibilities were shaped in Poland, and echoes of those formative years can be heard throughout virtually his entire oeuvre. Poland, and his yearning for it, nourished Chopin’s imagination and were the substance of his music. More on Fryderyk Chopin can be found on www.nifc.pl and www.chopin2010.pl.

In recognition of Chopin and his music, an astounding array of concerts, festivals, and other events will take place around the world. Throughout 2010, Warsaw, the City of Chopin, will offer occasions to hear the great composer’s most celebrated contemporary interpreters. These will include Anniversary Concerts (February 22-28) by Piotr Anderszewski, Daniel Barenboim, Rafal Blechacz, Kevin Kenner, Evgeny Kissin, Garrick Ohlsson, Janusz Olejniczak, Murray Perahia, and Ivo Pogorelich; and a Gala Concert on Chopin’s birthday (March 1), featuring Leif Ove Andsnes, Martha Argerich, Dang Thai Son, and Yundi Li. In August, Warsaw will be home to the Chopin and His Europe International Festival, with 50 concerts and over 1,000 performers, and as always will host the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, October 2-23. For Chopin Year 2010 worldwide programming, please check updates at www.chopin2010.pl.

THE CHOPIN IN CINEMA SERIES AT THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER

The series opens with three programs of screenings in January 2010.

The Youth of Chopin and Calling Mr. Smith

Friday, January 8 at 2:00 PM and 6:30 PM; Sunday, January 10 at 3:00 PM

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

LISTINGS

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.

TICKETS: $11 general, $8 seniors, $7 Film Society members, students, & children. View all three January programs with a Sampler Pass: $27 general; $21 seniors, $18 members, students. Automated schedule 212.875.5600; Box Office 212.875.5601; online at www.filmlinc.com ($1.25 service charge per ticket ordered online). MORE INFORMATION: www.PolishCulture-NYC.org, www.FilmLinc.com

CALENDAR OF SCREENINGS

ROMANCE IN LIGHT: FRYDERYK CHOPIN AND THE CINEMA, FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER

Short film descriptions: www.PolishCulture-NYC.org, www.FilmLinc.com

Friday, January 8

2:00 PM Calling Mr Smith, dir. Franciszka and Stefan Themerson, UK 1943, 10 min.

The Youth of Chopin (Mlodosc Chopina), dir. Aleksander Ford, Poland 1951, 121 min.

4:30 PM The International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Film:

Archival Newsreel (1965), Born in Warsaw (Rodem z Warszawy) , dir. Maria Kwiatkowska, Poland 1995, and Under the Sign of Chopin (Pod znakiem Chopina), dir. Stanislaw Mozdzenski, Poland 1955, total running time: 86 min.

6:30 PM Calling Mr Smith, dir. Franciszka and Stefan Themerson, UK 1943, 10 min.

The Youth of Chopin (lMłodosc Chopina), dir. Aleksander Ford, Poland 1951, 121 min.

9:00 PM Impromptu, dir. James Lapine, UK/France 1991, 107 min.

Sunday, January 10

1:00 PM The International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Film:

Archival Newsreel (1965), Born in Warsaw (Rodem z Warszawy), dir. Maria Kwiatkowska, Poland 1995, and Under the Sign of Chopin (Pod znakiem Chopina), dir. Stanislaw Mozdzenski, Poland 1955, total running time: 86 min.

3:00 PM Calling Mr Smith, dir. Franciszka and Stefan Themerson, UK 1943, 10 min.

The Youth of Chopin (Mlodosc Chopina), dir. Aleksander Ford, Poland 1951, 121 min.

Tuesday, January 12

1:00 PM Impromptu, dir. James Lapine, UK/France 1991, 107 min.

3:15 PM The International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Film:

Archival Newsreel (1965), Born in Warsaw (Rodem z Warszawy), dir. Maria Kwiatkowska, Poland 1995, and Under the Sign of Chopin (Pod znakiem Chopina), dir. Stanislaw Mozdzenski, Poland 1955, total running time: 86 min.

Saturday, March 6

2:00 PM The Strange Case of Delphina Potocka or The Mystery of Chopin, dir. Tony Palmer, UK 1999, 109 min.

Saturday, April 10

2:00 PM Fryderyk Chopin in Experimental Film: Color Studies of Chopin, dir. Eugeniusz Cekalski, Poland/USA 1937/1944, 11 min.

The Orchestra, dir. Zbigniew Rybczynski, USA/France/Japan 1990, 57 min.

Attention: Light!, dir. Jozef Robakowski and Wieslaw Michalak, Poland 2004, 5 min.

Chop, Chop, Chop, Chopin…!, dir. Mariusz Wilczynski, Poland 1999, 13 min.

Novi Singers, dir. Daniel Szczechura, Poland 1995, 5 min.

Saturday, May 8

2:00 PM The Blue Note (La Note Bleue), dir. Andrzej Zulawski, France/Germany 1991, 135 min.

THE POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE, established in 2000, is a diplomatic mission dedicated to nurturing and promoting cultural ties between the United States and Poland, both through American exposure to Poland’s cultural achievements, and through exposure of Polish artists and scholars to American trends, institutions, and professional counterparts.

The Institute initiates, organizes, promotes, and produces a broad range of cultural events in theater, music, film, literature, and the fine arts. It has collaborated with such cultural institutions as Lincoln Center Festival (Kalkwerk in 2009); BAM (Krum by TR Warszawa in BAM’s 2007 Next Wave Festival, which received a Village Voice Obie Award); Art at St. Ann’s (TR Warszawa’s Macbeth, 2008); Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, CUNY Graduate Center; La MaMa E.T.C.; Film Society of Lincoln Center; The Museum of Modern Art; Jewish Museum; PEN World Voices Festival; Poetry Society of America; Yale University; and many more. PCI co-produced the off-Broadway run of Irena’s Vow, with Tovah Feldshuh, which ran on Broadway in 2009.

THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER Under the leadership of Mara Manus, Executive Director, and Richard Peña, Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center offers the best in international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema. The Film Society presents two film festivals that attract global attention: the New York Film Festival, now in its 47th year, and New Directors/New Films which, since its founding in 1972, has been produced in collaboration with MoMA. The Film Society also publishes the award-winning Film Comment Magazine, and for over three decades has given an annual award - now named "The Chaplin Award" - to a major figure in world cinema.  Past recipients of this award include Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.  For more information, visit www.FilmLinc.com.

The Film Society receives generous, year-round support from 42BELOW, GRAFF, Stella Artois, Illy Caffè, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts.

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