Polish Films in Jazz Score
Knife in the Water (1962),
photo courtesy of Polish
National Film Archive
Saturday, May 17, 2008, 6:00 PM
Thursday, May 22, 2008, 8:30 PM
Knife in the Water (Noz w wodzie). 1962. Poland. Directed by Roman Polanski. Screenplay by Roman Polanski,
Jerzy Skolimowski, Jakub Goldberg. Music by Krzysztof Komeda. With Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz.
A young hitchhiker accompanies a successful, cocky sportswriter and his
beautiful wife on a weekend sailing trip, provoking asadistic contest
between the two men for her affection. Having all the hallmarks of his
best work – suspense, eroticism, psychological acuity, and morbid wit -
Polanski’s breakthrough feature was condemned by Communist Party
secretary Wladyslaw Gomulka for its degenerate “Western” values, even
as it captivated critics and audiences worldwide, earning an Oscar
nomination and the cover of Time magazine. Komeda’s spare melodies for
jazz quartet add to the film’s menacing, sensuous atmosphere. In
Polish, English subtitles.
The Fat and the Lean (Le Gros et le maigre, Gruby i chudy). 1961. France. Written and directed by Roman Polanski. Music by Krzysztof Komeda. With Polanski, André Katzelbach. (15 min.)
An absurdist tale of master and slave that mixes comedy, cruelty, and a motley array of musical sounds.
Miroslaw Kijowicz, Banner (1965), |
photo courtesy of Polish National Film Archive
Saturday, May 17, 2008, 8:30
Thursday, May 22, 2008, 6:15 PM
JERZY SKOLIMOWSKI & MIROSLAW KIJOWICZ
1967. Belgium. Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. Screenplay by
Skolimowski, Andrzej Kostenko. Music by Krzysztof Komeda. With
Jean-Pierre Léaud, Catherine Duport. (97 min.)
Skolimowski’s exuberant New Wave film, shot at breakneck speed in
Belgium with an appropriately punchy score by Polish compatriot Komeda,
reunites the two stars of Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculin Féminin. Léaud
plays a bored and restless hairdresser’s apprentice who is fanatically
obsessed with racing cars, and Duport the beautiful woman who sexually
An unmistakably Polish surrealist wit pervades the young lovers’ escapades. Winner of the top
prize at the Berlin Film Festival. In French, English subtitles.
Banner (Sztandar). 1965. Poland. Directed by Miroslaw Kijowicz. (7 min.)
One of Polish animation’s most politically subversive films, with music by Krzysztof Komeda.
Friday, August 1, 2008, 6:00 PM
Sunday, August 3, 2008, 2:30 PM
1965. Great Britain. Directed by Roman Polanski. Screenplay by Roman
Polanski, Gerard Brach. Music by Chico Hamilton. With Catherine
Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark, Yvonne Furneaux,
For his first British film, Polanski sidestepped the pitfalls of
Swinging London's self-promoting mythology to focus on the loneliness
that can afflict anyone new to the city or unable to cope with its
peculiar demands. Deneuve plays the shy young Belgian girl who, left
alone by her sister in their Kensington flat, retreats into a
terrifying world of fantasies and nightmares which find murderous
physical expression when she is visited by a would-be boyfriend and her
leering landlord. Repulsion was compared to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho,
and the carefully dosed suspense and claustrophobic scenery contributed
to its success. Deneuve charts a woman's agonizing psychic
disintegration in this masterpiece of psychological horror.
Anticipating Rosemary's Baby, Polanski's film evokes her
sexual repression, torment, and isolation through outwardly
expressionistic signs, including claustrophobic corridors and
putrefying animal carcasses, and magnified and distorted sounds.
Hamilton, who studied drums with Jo Jones and toured with Count Basie,
creates an aptly chilling score of jittery percussion, electric guitar,
and flute. In English.
photo courtesy of Zbig Vision
Thursday, August 7, 2008, 8:15 PM
Saturday, August 9, 2008, 6:00 PM
1973. Poland. Directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski. Music by Zbigniew
Namyslowski.A journey to the outer limits of music and space by the
Academy Award-winning media pioneer Rybczynski. (10 min.)
animates a cool jazz ensemble’s jam session, splitting the screen into
pulsing shards of color that dance to different instruments from one
moment to the next” (New York Times, April 13, 2008).