Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

We got to know the program of the first edition of Timeless Film Festival Warsaw

April 8, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. at the National Philharmonic, the festival will open with a screening of “The Martyrdom of Joan of Arc” (“La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc”, directed by Carl Th. Dreyer, France 1929), accompanied by a symphony written especially for the festival by Stefan Wesołowski and performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir.

On April 9, the National Philharmonic will also host a screening of Victor Sjöström’s masterpiece “The Coach of Death” (“Körkarlen”, Sweden 1921) with visionary, disturbing images, interpreted for organ by the Swedish organist and sound artist Ellen Arkbro. This will be the first opportunity in decades to watch a silent film with live organ music in Warsaw.

For the festival finale, April 15 at 7:30 p.m., music Paweł Mykietyn from the film “Io” by Jerzy Skolimowski Sinfonia Varsovia will perform at the National Philharmonic.

These three events are part of the film concerts, which will also feature performances by: Belgian composer Wim Mertens (film music concert), Japanese multi-instrumentalist Eiko Ishibashi, cellist Dobrawa Czocher, Dutch lutenist and guitarist Jozef Van Wissem and the bands Małe Instrumenty and XYLOS.

The flagship and largest retrospective during the event is a review of the work of the visionary duo of British cinema: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Although their achievements belong to the strict canon of world cinema, they are little known in Poland and their films are difficult to obtain. The program included the ten most important works of the creators: from the island’s “The Edge of the World”, Great Britain 1937, through the spectacular “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp”, Great Britain 1943), to the Archers’ peak achievement, “Czerwone trzewiki” (“The Red Shoes”, Great Britain 1948).

The review will also be accompanied by an exhibition of portrait photos by Fred Daniels, the duo’s still photographer and one of the masters of British photography. The curators of the exhibition, Nigel Arthur (BFI) and Eva Reeves, will present several dozen works made on Powell & Pressburger film sets, introducing the aesthetics and atmosphere of mid-century cinema stills.

During the Timeless Film Festival Warsaw you will also be able to watch films by the only female director working in the male-dominated New Hollywood. Comedy genius Elaine May is a discovery of the festival and a great opportunity to look at American cinema through a female lens. We balance this rough cinema of the 1970s with vast spectacles straight from the hands of the master of costume cinema – during the festival you will be able to see all historical films Luchin Visconti.

We are also pleased to return to our domestic cinema: the Timeless FFW program includes a rich representation of Polish productions. Starting with a revisit of the semi-modernist films of Stanisław Różewicz, through the works of Polish documentary filmmakers, to the Classic Territories: Polish Cinema section, in which we will recall both the classics and the pearls remaining on the margins of history.

The twin section, which will certainly appeal to cinephiles, is Classic Territories: World Cinema – a unique and extremely rich review of 24 films from various corners of the world, often unjustly pushed to the side. Among them there are such works as the revolutionary Brazilian “Pixote” by Héctor Babenka (1980), the thoroughly feminist “Silence around Krystyna M. Marleen Gorris” (“De stilte rond Christine M”, Netherlands 1982), the late new wave “Miłość mad” Jacques Rivette (“L’Amour Fou”, France 1969) or the dreamlike “Alien and the Fog” by Bahram Beyzai (“Gharibeh va meh”, Iran, 1974).

We will stay longer in the land of cherry blossoms, which is the subject of two festival reviews. On the one hand, Japan 1954: Year of Wonders, in which we will present the fruits of the year 1954, rich in masterpieces, on the other – In the Land of Ghibli, a set of cult animations by the legendary Studio Ghibli. The festival also pays tribute to Wim Wenders – a film nomad, author of outstanding films: “Paris, Texas” (“Paris, Texas”; USA/Germany 1984) and “Heaven over Berlin” (“Der Himmel über Berlin”; Germany 1987). A similar artist, operating between worlds, is Piotr Kamler – an animation creator who created extraordinary miniatures in France, culminating in the full-length “Chronopolis”, a visionary and almost metaphysical project.

For fans of eccentric adventures and aesthetic journeys, we have prepared sections that go beyond the realistic convention. Musicals will allow you to feel comfortable in technicolor worlds for decades, while Midnight Classics, classic night screenings, will provide a worthy ending to every festival day. For those who like to connect the dots and find unobvious connections, we have prepared Double Features sets – films that talk to each other in various ways, most often opening up to unorthodox written history of cinema. You can also get to know it from behind the scenes: as part of Documentaries about Cinema, we will present a set that consists – as the classic used to say – of films about films within a film.

The icing on the timeless cake is the Special Shows section, in which we celebrate round anniversaries, present unique finds, and give a chance to experience something unique. Therefore, you will once again be able to debate hamburgers with the characters of “Pulp Fiction” (dir. Quentin Tarantino, USA 1994), see “The Afterlight” (dir. Charlie Shackleton, Great Britain 2021), which exists only on one copy of the film reel or tap your feet to the rhythm of the immortal Talking Heads hits at the show “Stop Making Sense” (directed by Jonathan Demme, USA 1984).

Timeless Film Festival Warsaw is dedicated to the memory of Professor Aleksander Jackiewicz – a critic, theoretician and historian of film, whose activities and thinking about cinema influenced entire generations of Polish cinema lovers.