Polish Film Festival in America | Festival | Chicago Reader

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Polish Film Festival in America


The 13th annual Polish Film Festival in America, produced by the Society for Arts, runs Saturday, November 3, through Sunday, November 18. Screenings are at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, and by video projection at the Society for Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $9; passes are also available for $40 (five screenings) and $80 (twelve screenings). For more information call 773-486-9612. Programs marked with a * are highly recommended.


Quo Vadis

A Roman officer falls for a Christian woman during the reign of Nero in this historical epic adapted from the novel by Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz. Director Jerzy Kawalerowicz and actor Pawel Delag will attend the screening, which is sold out. 170 min. (Copernicus Center, 7:30)


Quo Vadis

See listing for Saturday, November 3. Director Jerzy Kawalerowicz and actor Pawel Delag will attend the screening, which is sold out. (Copernicus Center, 3:00)

Love Letters

Slawomir Krynski (The Book of Great Wishes) directed this drama about a young woman working as a geriatric nurse who learns that she's the object of unsent love letters. Krynski will attend the screening. 100 min. (Copernicus Center, 6:30)


Based on a true story, this feature by Lech J. Majewski chronicles the Janow Circle, a commune in Silesia after World War II that dabbled in parapsychology and the occult. 110 min. (Copernicus Center, 8:30)


* Hi, Tereska

Director Robert Glinski details the bleakness of life in a dead-end industrial town with this drama about a young girl's rebellion and gradual degradation. Living with her unhappy parents in a grimy housing project, Tereska (Aleksandra Gietner) dreams of a career in fashion design, but two companions, a hard-bitten schoolmate and a wheelchair-bound pedophile, introduce her to smoking, alcohol, lies, and sex. The explosive family arguments come close to parodying kitchen-sink realism, and Glinski's dissection of the girl's psychological malaise isn't entirely convincing. But Gietner, sullen and passive, holds the film together with her curiosity and simmering anger. 89 min. (TS) The print being screened is not subtitled. (Copernicus Center, 7:00)

Love Letters

See listing for Sunday, November 4. Director Slawomir Krynski will attend the screening. (Copernicus Center, 9:00)


* Hi, Tereska

See listing for Monday, November 5. The print being screened is not subtitled. (Copernicus Center, 7:00)

The Net

An hour-long episode from the TV series Big Deals, this 2000 film by Krzysztof Krauze spoofs Poland's emerging yuppies: a woman buys a cell phone packed with expensive options as a birthday gift for her husband, and the husband mistakenly believes that she's bought it to carry on an affair with the phone salesman. His jealousy exposes the pressure points of their modern marriage (conformity, consumerism, and competitiveness), which may seem fresh to Polish viewers but will be dreadfully familiar to Americans. Krauze's satire is heavy-handed, and the comedy's occasional sharp edges are negated by a pat ending. (TS) On the same program, Maciej Pieprzyca's Inferno (59 min.), a TV drama about three women whose plans for the future go awry the night of their prom. (Copernicus Center, 9:00)



Documentarian Artur Urbanski makes his feature film debut with this 2000 drama about a young woman whose mother is pressuring her to succeed as a fashion model. 70 min. To be shown without subtitles. (Copernicus Center, 7:00)


See listing for Sunday, November 4. (Copernicus Center, 9:00)


Happy Man

Beautiful but relentlessly bleak, this 2000 feature by writer-director Malgorzata Szumowska follows an angst-ridden 30-year-old, unemployed and still living at home, as his mother's lung cancer forces him to confront his aimless, loveless existence. Szumowska tells her Beckettian story with disarming simplicity, and Piotr Jankowski plays with an off-the-cuff naturalism the protagonist's flashes of narcissistic anger, his frantic search for a girlfriend, and his awkward, halfhearted attempts to comfort his mother. Working with minimal available light, cinematographers Marek Gajczak and Michal Englert create a series of shadowy scenes, and Jacek Drosio's editing enhances the film's jagged documentary feel. 84 min. (Jack Helbig) (Copernicus Center, 7:00)


See listing for Wednesday, November 7. (Copernicus Center, 9:00)

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