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Robert Bodrog

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Scorsese's Polish Film Series Comes to the U.K.

Masterpieces of Polish Cinema logo

Over a year since it made its debut at New York's Lincoln Center last February, Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema, a traveling exhibition comprising 21 feature films, has screened at over 30 venues from coast to coast across North America. The series includes works by legendary directors such as Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi and others, which have never previously been showcased on such a grand scale.
Having received overwhelming critical and popular acclaim, it was only a matter of time before the exhibition made its way across the Atlantic. And starting 8 April, the British Film Institute, in partnership with the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival and Filmhouse Edinburgh, will kick off its incarnation of the series, which will run through 28 May. Following its run at BFI Southbank, the series will continue at venues throughout the UK until the end of September. 
Rather than schedule the London screenings into a limited time frame, the BFI programmers have opted for a looser, more viewer-friendly approach, with multiple screening dates for each film spread over an eight-week period.
And for film fans in Ireland, Dublin's Lighthouse Cinema will screen a selection of seven films from the series from 30 March to 4 April as part of the 2015 Polska Eire festival. For further information, visit their website:
A programme of special events will complement the BFI Southbank screenings, including a personal appearance by director Krzysztof Zanussi on 8 April following a presentation of his film Camouflage (1976) to launch the opening of the series and the 13th Kinoteka festival. Two other Zanussi films, Illumination (1972) and The Constant Factor (1980) are also featured in the series.
The choice of London as the series' first venue outside North America seems a logical choice, given that over 1 million Poles have emigrated to the U.K. since Poland joined the European Union in 2004. But of course, one doesn't have to be Polish in order to enjoy these films and appreciate their quality, which seems even more impressive considering the limited budgets and restrictive circumstances under which many were made, which makes their achievement all that more remarkable. And after the extensive and painstaking digital restoration given to each film, they've never looked or sounded better. 
For dates and screening times, go to the BFI's website:
For further information, click on this link to read my previous article about the series.

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