With Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski winning the Oscar for best foreign language film Ida this past February, it's fitting that the Kinoteka Polish Film Festival is putting his home country in the spotlight.
Now in its thirteenth year, the event celebrates Poland's deservedly lauded cinema output, and is given extra prestige thanks to the involvement of Martin Scorsese as guest curator. The American maestro has picked 21 masterpieces, all restored and remastered, to be screened from today until 29 May at BFI Southbank.
Look out for classics including tonight's opener Camouflage with director Krzysztof Zanussi in attendance for a Q&A; Krzysztof Kieślowski's Blind Chance which presents three separate story-lines about a man trying to catch a train; along with his capital punishment drama A Short Film About Killing which won the Jury Prize in Cannes back in 1988.
Other highlights include an offering of five of Andrzej Wajda’s social realism films, including Palme d’Or winning Man of Iron, and a further four from Jerzy Kawalerowicz, beginning with his 1959 psychological thriller Night Train.
Scorsese told the BFI: “These are films that have great emotional and visual power, and stand up to repeated viewings. Whether you’re familiar with some of these films or not, it’s really an incredible opportunity to discover for yourself the great power of Polish cinema, on the big screen in brilliantly restored digital masters.”
The ICA will play host to Kinoteka’s New Polish Cinema strand from 10 April. Check out Wojciech Wiszniewski Rediscovered, Pawlikowski’s early documentaries and works from Aneta Kopacz and Tomasz Śliwiński who were Academy Award-nominated for this year's best documentary short film category.
The programme concludes with a boat ride on the Thames to celebrate the DVD re-release of cult comedy The Cruise, in addition to a 70s-themed interactive performance that includes live jazz from Obara International.
If that's not enough, a poster exhibition will be on show at the BFI as well as a range of musical performances (don't miss 15 Corners of the World featuring music by Eugeniusz Rudnik).
Kinoteka Polish Film Festival runs from 8 April - 29 May at the ICA and BFI Southbank. Ticket prices vary.