Vancouver Polish Film Festival selections sing on local screens

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      Music happens to harmonize the second annual Vancouver Polish Film Festival (which runs from October 18 to 20) with an underlying theme.

      VPFF organizer Rafal Czekajlo told the Straight by phone that even this year’s special guest has a musical connection.

      Polish movie star Paweł Małaszyński, a friend of Czekajlo’s, is also the lead singer of the band Cochise. Czekajlo said that Małaszyński, who will attend the festival party at the Westin Bayshore Hotel on Saturday (October 19), will be visiting Vancouver for the first time.

      “To be honest, he’s very excited because he’s a big fan of West Coast music,” Czekajlo said. “When I talked to him last time in Poland, he actually mentioned seven different places in Seattle he would like to see because they’re connected with Nirvana, with Pearl Jam, with…grunge music.”

      Małaszyński stars in three of the festival’s selections: the soccer-related drama Skrzydlate Świnie (Flying Pigs), the thriller Sęp (The Vulture), and the rom-com Listy do M (Letters to St. Nicholas).

      What’s more, the biggest Polish box-office draw of 2012, Jesteś Bogiem (You Are God), is all about music. The film tells the roller-coaster story of the influential Polish hip-hop crew Paktofonika, including their meteoric rise to fame and the suicide of 22-year-old rapper Piotr “Magik” Luszcz.

      Meanwhile, Mój Rower (My Father’s Bike) stars Polish jazz celebrity Michal Urbaniak in his first acting role, as a retired musician whose wife leaves him for another man.

      Other picks among the festival’s 12 offerings include the recent release Układ Zamknięty (The Closed Circuit), a political thriller inspired by real events. Two producers of the film will attend the festival.

      There’s also 1990’s Ucieczka z Kina Wolność (Escape From the “Liberty” Cinema), a popular political satire about censorship.

      “The interesting thing is [the film is set during] the time when Poland was…[transitioning] from [the] Communist era to [a] free country,” Czekajlo said. “The film is about the institution which controlled radio, television, and newspapers.”

      The documentary MDM, about a famous 1950s socialist-realism housing development in Warsaw, was made by Polish-Canadian director Eric Bednarski.

      Although most cinemagoers may be familiar with classic Polish auteurs like Roman Polanski and Krzysztof Kieslowski, Czekajlo pointed out that the VPFF offers audiences the opportunity to get to know the latest names in Polish cinema.

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