might be the week to read a good film
Roszkowski, the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at the Universitys
Miller Center of Public
Affairs, will present the film "Sexmission, Julius
Machulskis 1983 political satire about two cryogenically
frozen men thawed out in the future, in a world without men.
film, in Polish with English subtitles, will be screened on the
second floor of the University Bookstore on Thursday, April 26,
at 4 p.m. Its part of a series of films Roszkowski is showing
from a cache of about 246 Polish movies circa 1920 to the 1980s,
donated recently to the Miller Center.
a professor of Polish history, politics and democratic transformation,
laughed when he said presenting movies is not his basic
dedication, but said someone writing a history of Polish
cinema would find the centers collection contains about
two-thirds of Polands pertinent films.
Zaremba, president of Polart.com in Sarasota, Fla., donated the
collection to support the Kosciuszko chair, according to Wistar
Morris, executive director of the Miller Center Foundation.
said the movies would interest film students, artists and historians.
While Poland is not known for its films, Polish cinema has developed
its own traits and characteristics. Because of communisms
isolation, Hollywood did not heavily influence Polish filmmaking,
Roszkowski said. Polish films developed a style that relied less
on gunplay and explosions, focusing more on a slower pace and
storytelling within the strictures of state censorship.
film industry in Poland was an extension of the regime, with the
directors receiving salaries and production monies from the state.
Roszkowski said this was a mixed blessing, since the directors
work was controlled and censored, but they were also insulated
from marketplace pressures. And since the state handled film distribution
no competition existed for screen space.
was no problem selling taste, he said. It may have
been different if they had had to listen to the public. This way,
some of the directors could just focus on what they had to say.
said the censorship may have had some benefits for the movie industry
in Poland. While some of the filmmakers toed the party line, willingly
embracing state restrictions, others became skilled and crafty
storytellers to get their messages past the censors.
films Roszkowski is showing have universal appeal. He said if
the viewer knows Polish history or of the times and conditions
under which the film was made, he or she might enjoy it more,
but the films still can be entertaining to those without that
said the cinemas of other Iron Curtain countries exerted little
influence in Poland. He said East German and Soviet films were
seldom shown in Poland because their censorship was so rigid that
the films themselves were not very good and Polish audiences ridiculed
them. He said films from Hungary and Czechoslovakia, however,
collapse of communism threw the Polish film industry into disarray.
While content restrictions were lifted, filmmakers now had to
accommodate the marketplace and secure funding for their projects.
They also had to compete with Western movies, which were now available.
Polish films have been both box office and critical successes,
Roszkowski said, specifically citing By Fire and Sword
by Jerzy Hoffman and Andrzej Wajdas Pan Tadeusz.
He also pointed to Christopher Kieslowskis triology Red,
White and Blue, made as a joint venture
with a French film concern.
films are drawn from Polish literature, but Roszkowski said there
is a separation between novelists and screenwriters.
played a different role, he said, referring to the years
of communist control. Censorship made it hard to translate
some things to the screen. And both [literature and film] were
under strict controls.
said if this screening sparks enough interest in Polish films,
he may show another one in early May. He said people interested
in borrowing films can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
is also working on a conference on May 3-5 at the Miller Center
on the transformation of Poland following the fall of communism.
Roszkowski said there will be three visiting scholars from Poland
as well as U.Va. professors making presentations.