Polish animation holds a very special position in the hearts of all fans of classic animation. It has been described as containing “a sense of absurdity, surrealism and anguished settings”. All true, but to this could also be added a love of complex, adult fairytales and a willingness to take the best from western and eastern visual influences. The names of the finest Polish animators stand high on any list of master animators. Jan Lenica, Jerzy Kucia, Zbigniew Rybczynski, Piotr Dumala and Walerian Borowczyk and many more are represented in this comprehensive four programme retrospective, co-presented by Etiuda&Anima, Poland and LIAF. Details of the first of the four programmes are shown below.
‘Kineformy/Cineforms’ (Andrzej Pawlowski, 1957)
‘Cineforms’ is the recording of a light show, created by a projector. Changes in music are linked to
changing colours and shapes.
‘Zmiana Warty/The Changing of the Guard’ (Włodzimierz Haupe & Halina Bielińska, 1958)
The director uses matches to present a love story between the Princess and the Sentry. However, one careless move causes a fire. The animation ends with the caution: “Smoking forbidden”.
‘Dom/House’ (Walerian Borowczyk & Jan Lenica, 1958)
House was inspired by the French avant-garde tradition of the 1920s. Different scenes vary stylistically and thematically. Taking place inside a tenement house, we see an animated wig drinking milk, two men fighting and a woman kissing a dummy’s head…
‘Szkoła/The School’ (Walerian Borowczyk, 1958)
A day in the life of a soldier, presented using a montage of animated photographs. An incessant drill,
repetitive activities… It is one of the most convincing visions of human objectification in the history
‘Labirynt/Labyrinth’ (Jan Lenica, 1961)
A mysterious man with fake wings unexpectedly finds himself in a labyrinth in an unknown town. Dangerous, hybrid creatures inhabit this place and the man decides on a risky escape. Labyrinth is a cut-out animation.
‘Igraszki/ Playthings’ (Kazimierz Urbański, 1962)
A story of the everlasting conflict of civilisations at different stages of advancement.
‘Czerwone i Czarne/Red and Black’ (Witold Giersz, 1963)
A battle between the bull and the bullfighter becomes a starting point for witty and light animated play.
‘Słodkie Rytmy/Sweet Rhythms’ (Kazimierz Urbański, 1965)
An animation inspired by the richness of diversity that can be observed in the life of bees.
‘Wszystko Jest Liczbą/ Everything Is a Number’ (Stefan Schabenbeck, 1966)
Awarded ‘Best Debut’ during the Oberhausen Festival, this film finds a man in a world dominated by numbers, equations and geometrical figures.
‘Koń/The Horse’ (Witold Giersz, 1967)
A man tries to tame a beautiful wild horse.
‘Worek/ The Sack’ (Tadeusz Wilkosz, 1967)
A sack left in an attic starts to consume trash and all sorts of other unused things that are lying around.
‘The Sack’, received an award during the Manheim Festival and introduced the tradition of Czech object
animation to Poland.
‘Hobby’ (Daniel Szczechura, 1968)
‘Hobby’ was made in 1968 – the year of student revolt against totalitarian rule. A grotesque story about female possessiveness, but simultaneously a
metaphor for political enslavement and the fight for freedom.