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The 26th edition of FESTROIA: TROIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL will be held from June 4 to 13 in the beautiful coastal resort town of Setubal, Portugal. The Festival, the country's oldest and most prestigious, is known as the "Cannes of Portugal" and showcases international talents from around the world, with competition sections, special events and a program  of new works from emerging North American independent filmmakers from the U.S.A.


The Poles Take Portugal

 JULIE WALKING Home (Agnieska Holland)JULIE WALKING Home (Agnieska Holland)

Wednesday, June 11-------Although they are both part of the European continent, Poland seems as far away from Portugal as one can imagine. I’ve now been to both places, and while it is a cliché and an exaggeration that Poland is always rather cloudy, gloomy and weighed down by its difficult history, the Polish sensibility (and humor) are decidedly dark. It is intriguing to have that sober mood contrast with the lightness and sparkle of Portugal in early June, but that is exactly the contrast at Festroia, where contemporary Polish cinema is the spotlight.


Poland is everywhere here this year----the Festival opened with Polish director Andrzej Wadja’s exceptional Oscar-nominated docudrama KATYN and has as its Competition Jury President the celebrated filmmaker Andrzej Zulawski, who has made films in both his homeland Poland and his adopted country France to great international acclaim.


Polish cinema has never been off the international radar and has produced several internationally recognized masters: Polanski, Kieslowski, Zanussi and Wajda. The special showcase of films introduces some well-known directors and a host of newer ones that may be less familiar to the world cinema stage.


The Tribute To Polish Cinema includes 11 features, 18 shorts and a program of student films from Poland’s most world-renowned Lodz Film Academy. Aside from KATYN, as the opener, the Festival is presenting such feature films as: LIFE AS A FATAL SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DIESEASE by Krzystztof Zanussi, JULIE WALKING HOME by Agnieska Holland, EDI by Piotra Trzalkalski, I AM by Dorota Kedzierzaawska, EXTRAS by Michael Kwiecinski, SAVIORS SQUARE by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krause, JASIMINUM by Jan Jakub Kolski, IMMORAL TALES by Walerian Borowczyk, ALL WILL BE WELL by Tomasz Wiszniewski and PRESERVE by Lukasz Palkowski.


While it would be presumptuous to offer a simplistic theme that all these diverse films share, I would venture to say that they all have in common a realism of dealing with both the past and the present in a direct, honest manner, rather than the “between-the-lines” aesthetic that was necessary during the repressive Communist period. Artists now are free to both recreate the past and put a glaring spotlight on the present, as Eastern Europe’s most economically dynamic country plots out its future.


In this sense, the Spotlight On Polish Cinema, presented by the Polish Film Institute, is very illuminating….as to how film artists are approaching dealing with the burdens of their legacy and the opportunities of the future.


Sandy Mandelberger, Festroia Dailies Editor


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About Festroia

Sandy Mandelberger
(International Media Resources)

United States

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