Post-1989, Polish Cinema is taking to Hollywood style of filmmaking

PANAJI: Professor Piotr Klodowski, ambassador of Poland in India, said the language of cinema is the most universal for communication and he would, therefore, like greater cooperation between his country and India.

Klodowski, who speaks fluent Hindi, said the recent visit of the Polish Minister for Cultural and National Heritage to India had also strengthened this view.

He also promised to examine offers from film societies or filmmakers for Indo-Polish collaboration in this field. There were plans to collaborate with film schools, he said.

Addressing the Open Forum on Polish cinema with particular reference to the retrospective of the films of Jan Jacub Kolski at IFFI, he said cinema had undergone a major change in his country since 1989. While there was greater freedom, there were commercial pressures since the industry was earlier supported by the state. This had its positive and negative aspects. Films made before 1989 had restrictions but were generally good.

Kolsky said it was unfortunate that modern Polish cinema was turning to Hollywood for ideas, and therefore he avoided seeing films by other Polish filmmakers. However, he said Dorotha Kedzierzawska - who was also present – was an exception since she also stuck to her own style.

He said he wanted to keep his own perspective and stuck to his own style. He agreed to the presence of a strong Catholic influence in his films, but said he used this to expose the shallowness of Catholicism and use this to comment upon love, life and the world.

Asked if he had seen any Indian films, he said he preferred to watch the people. He felt it was too strong to say cinema in his country had degenerated but it had polarised and privatised.

He said eight of his 13 films were being shown and it was a mere coincidence that these eight were based in the countryside, since he had also made films in the city.

Referring to his latest film Venice shown here, he said it was based on the alter ego of the author who wrote the short story it was based on. It is about the oppression all around us with no place of escape. His central character, therefore, tends to withdraw into himself.

He said he was known for using stories that were ‘unadaptable’ to the large screen.

Dorotha said she liked the way Indians loved cinema. She said she agreed that Polish cinema was turning to Hollywood. The present Polish cinema was going in two directions: the commercial and the art. She preferred not to talk too much about her films, particularly after they had been made.

Kolsky’s cinematographer Arthur Reinhard said he had been talking to some Indians about making a film in India. Asked about his visuals, he said every film was a new challenge in itself.

The Open Forum has been organised by the Federation of Film Societies of India in collaboration with the Directorate of Film Festivals and the Entertainment Society of Goa.

Later addressing a press meet, Kolski said his film Venice “is about love awakened by a… lack of love. About growing up. About myself.”

The films being screened in the package are Venice, The Burial of Potato, Johnny The Aquarius, The Miraculous Place, The History of Cinema in the Village of Popielawy, Keep Away from the Window, Pornography, and Happy Aphonya.

The director was extremely happy with the response he received from the viewers at IFFI, and said his films are being perceived as Indian, and that he considers this as the best compliment.

He said he has received similar responses in Japan, Germany, and is happy to know of their universal appeal. When asked why most of the Polish films have a war background, he said “environment during oppression and adverse circumstances is a big stimulus to the creativity of filmmakers.”

Advising the film students, he said if the films are able to move the viewers, narrate a story and get a creative recognition, the filmmakers can consider their work to be successful. He said sensibility is very important for a filmmaker and he wants to make films which “one can absorb through all the senses.”

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