We sift through the show reels to uncover some of the best and worst films connected to the nation…
The film adaptation of Władysław Szpilman’s riveting true tale of survival in the Jewish Ghetto dominated the 2003 Oscars, receiving gongs for Best Actor, Director and Screenplay. Even allowing for the passage of time, Roman Polanski’s masterpiece hasn’t aged one bit with IMDB users bestowing it with an 8.5 rating. Several scenes were shot in Praga and around Krakowskie Przedmieście.
Not long back Warsaw found itself visited by Bollywood royalty for the filming of Kick, an ‘action comedy’ that has in turn been described as everything from a ‘masala movie spiced with the superstardom of Salman Khan’, to a ‘brainless romp’. Hilariously overacted and ludicrous in plot, the flick includes a bus chase through the Polish capital that culminates in a double decker plunging off Most Gdański.
One of the best loved Polish films of all times is a breezy comedy that tells the story of a separated couple’s race to access their joint savings account in London. Exposing the absurd complexities of life under communism, even non-Polish speakers find themselves sucked into the bewildering world of 80s Poland.
Ashes & Diamonds
Starring Zbigniew Cybulski (a.k.a. The Polish James Dean), fans of Andrzej Wajda’s 1958 classic include Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Says Criterion: “gorgeously photographed and brilliantly performed, Ashes and Diamonds masterfully interweaves the fate of a nation with that of one man, resulting in one of the most important Polish films of all time.” This film is a powerful exploration of the social catastrophe faced in the post-war period.
Przygoda Na Mariensztacie
Released in 1954, Adventure in Mariensztat was Poland’s first ever color movie. An early rom com of sorts, while its widely derided as an actual film, it makes for compelling viewing on account of the Warsaw it depicts: a jolly city in the midst of rebirth. Laced with propaganda, seeing the city being rebuilt in the background is remarkable in itself. As expected, the Mariensztat district is prominent, but so too are Old Town, Muranów and MDM square.
A Very Polish Practice
This feature-length spin-off of the British drama/comedy A Very Peculiar Practice finds the protagonist, Dr. Darker, working in early 90s Warsaw. While a degree of familiarity with the series that spawned this film is necessary for maximum enjoyment, even those new to this bizarrely odd series will thrill at the decrepit, post-Communist capital that forms the backdrop.