1714 -18th Avenue • Seattle WA 98122. WHEN: THIRD FRIDAY of the month • 7:30 PM (usually, but check for details on each film) • Free admission

Our Mission: Polish Film Club OKO is a private discussion club, affiliated with the Polish Cultural Center in Seattle (a non-profit organization), and devoted to promoting Polish-themed film art in the Pacific Northwest through exposure, education and discussion - ALL FILMS HAVE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.
See you at Kino OKO and thank you for being a film friend. aleks in seattle. OKO logo by Iza Turski.

Friday, April 28, 2017

May and June films

Film host:  Jola Paliswiat

• Friday, May 19th, 7:30 in Polish Home:  Jasminum (2006) Directed, written by Jan Jakub Kolski - Comedy, Romance

Crew: Camera (color), Krzysztof Ptak; editor, Witold Chominski; music, Zygmunt Konieczny; production designer, Joanna Doroszkiewicz; costume designer, Ewa Helman-Szczerbic. Reviewed at Cairo Film Festival (competing), Dec. 7, 2007. Running time: 109 MIN.

With: Janusz Gajos, Grazyna Blecka-Kolska, Wiktoria Gasiewska, Adam Ferency, Krzysztof Pieczynski, Monika Dryl, Patrycja Soliman, Boguslaw Linda, Krzysztof Globisz, Grzegorz Damiecki, Dariusz Juzyszyn, Franciszek Pieczka.

This film, like ALL OKO movies, will be shown with the English subtitles, BUT there is no trailer on the web with English subtitles.

The peaceful world of a monastery, in a small town Jasmine, is destroyed by the arrival of monument restorers, Natasha, along with her daughter Eugenia. The legend associated with the monastery bode revelation in him a saint in the near future. Despite initial reluctance, Natasha starts the maintenance of the image stored there. The secrets of the monastery are unraveled: the unhappy lovers bodies placed in the catacombs, the secret elixir of love, created with the smell of the monks.

Here is a review of the movie by Hari Yelleti (International Film Festival): [...] Director Jan Jakub Kolski explores the idea of science versus faith in this beautifully shot Film where a woman art restorator Natasha arrives at a Monastery to restore and preserve aging paintings, particularly the Virgin Mary painting. She has a cute daughter named Eugenia who insists on others not using a petname on her. The Film is told through the voice over of and many times from the point of view of this five year old. [...]


• Friday, June 16th, 7:30 in Polish Home:  Jestem (2005) by Dorota Kędzierzawska - Drama

A self-reliable 11-year-old boy runs away from children's home to be with his dysfunctional mother. She doesn't want him back so he starts living on an old barge.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Friday, April 21: 'Gods' (original title: 'Bogowie'), 2014 bio/drama, by Lukasz Palkowski

Film host: Ania Cholewinska

''Gods'" (original title: 'Bogowie'), is a 2014 bio/drama, by Lukasz Palkowski, At Polish Home upstairs, Friday, April 21, 7:30 pm.

It depicts the early career of cardiac surgeon Zbigniew Religa. Despite harsh reality of the 1980s Poland, he successfully leads a team of doctors to the country's first human heart transplantation.
IMBD here...

From Wikipedia:  [...]  Gods (Polish: Bogowie) is a 2014 Polish dramatic feature film directed by Łukasz Palkowski. It is based on the life and career of Polish cardiac surgeon Zbigniew Religa, who performed the first successful heart transplant in Poland in 1987. The movie received the Golden Lions award for best film at the 39th Gdynia Film Festival (2014) and the Eagle at the Polish Film Awards (2015).

Production of the film took place in autumn 2013. As of January 2015, the film has been seen by 2.2 million viewers. [...]

The Guardian review: You wouldn’t think a film about cardiology in Poland would be such a kick, but Bogowie (“Gods” in Polish) is a fast-paced, soapy pleasure, sort of like ER or Grey’s Anatomy, but with the 1980s setting adding a judicious dollop of iron-curtain period kitsch. Tomasz Kot plays Zbigniew Religa, the doctor who performed the first successful heart transplant in Poland after battling opposition from colleagues and struggling to set up his own clinic. A big, strapping bear of man who chain-smokes throughout (those were the days), he tools about the country in a fabulous lime-green tin can of a car and won’t give up on a patient. A brightly limned roster of supporting characters, from tough-cookie nurses to patrician superiors, orbit about him, snapping out great chunks of medical dialogue. The film-making is a bit old-fashioned, especially the swelling orchestral score, but it tells a fascinating story well and ably captures a specific time and place in medical history.

Interesting response to the Guardian's review from Central and Eastern European London Review: [...] Religa’s first heart transplant was carried out in 1985. There were failures; there was much literal and metaphorical heart-searching (the squeamish may have to look away at times); but the force of Religa’s character – and of Kot’s forceful characterization  – wins his detractors round. The Guardian critic derided what he called ‘the swelling orchestral score’ and ‘the iron-curtain period kitsch’; but these were of a piece with a time that perhaps it takes a Pole to recall in all its gloom. It does not take a Pole to acknowledge that Bogowie is a film, Religa a surgeon, and Kot an actor, to make Poles justifiably proud.[...] 

From The Huffington Post: [...] ‘Gods’ Is One Of The Best Foreign Language Films Of The Year...  A rare breed of spunk and spirit co-mingle in the Polish film Gods (Bogowie), the biopic about professor Zbigniew Religa, who performed the first successful heart transplant in communist Poland in the 1980s. It’s a winning combination destined to win over audiences and some critics. But the biopic, directed by Polish filmmaker Łukasz Palkowski—suddenly on the rise and someone to watch out for—also boasts an addictive charm that’s not easily forgotten. [...]

Trailer here:

See you at KinoOKO at April 21!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Friday, March 17th: 'Reverse' (original title: 'Rewers'), 2009 comedy, by Borys Lankosz

Film host:  Hanna Gil, translator of the film's English subtitles - you will have a chance to ask her about the process of caption translation.

'Reverse' (original title: 'Rewers') is a 2009 Polish (dark) comedy film, directed by Borys Lankosz. Polish Home upstairs, Friday, March 17th, 7:30 pm

Sharply scripted and impeccably realized Lankosz’s debut feature is a darkly comedic portrait of romance, familial bonds, and political intrigue. The film follows Sabina Jankowska (the angular and attractive Agata Buzek), an unassuming singleton working as a poetry editor in Stalinist Warsaw.

Sabina’s lack of even a prospective husband is a point of constant contention for her well-meaning, though meddlesome, mother and grandmother.

At their behest (and as a result of their scheming) Sabina entertains a number of suitors, all of whom fail to interest her – until Bronislaw Falski mysteriously enters the scene.

Praised for its black humour, attention to character, and clever stylization, REVERSE was an enormous critical hit in its native Poland, capturing the Golden Lion for Best Polish Film, along with four other awards at the 2009 Polish Film Festival and was also honoured with the FIPRESCI award at the Warsaw International Film Festival for the best Eastern European debut. English sub-titles.

Reverse was also very well received by American audience and film critics - it was shown at the SPFF a few years ago.

New York Times 'Reverse' film review here...
Hollywood Reporter 'Reverse' film review here...

Director: Borys Lankosz. Screenplay: Andrzej Bart. Cinematography: Marcin Koszałka. Music: Włodzimierz Pawlik. Set design: Magdalena Dipont, Robert Czesak. Costumes: Magdalena Biedrzycka. Editing: Wojciech Anuszczyk. Sound: Maria Chilarecka, Aleksander Musiałowski. Cast: Agata Buzek (Sabina), Krystyna Janda (mother), Anna Polony (grandmother), Marcin Dorociński (Bronisław), Adam Woronowicz (Józef), Bronisław Wrocławski (director Barski), Łukasz Konopka (Arkadiusz), Błażej Wójcik (Marcel), Jerzy Bończak (official 1), Jacek Poniedziałek (official 2). Production: Kadr Film Studio, Syrena Films, Documentary and Feature Film Studio (WFDiF). Co-financed by: Polish Film Institute. Distribution: Syrena Films. Length: 88 min. Released on 13 November 2009.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 17, 2017 - Wajda's 'Man of Marble' (at Polish Home)

Film host: Ryszard Kott

Man of Marble (Polish: Człowiek z marmuru) is a 1976 Polish film directed by Andrzej Wajda. It chronicles the fall from grace of a fictional heroic Polish bricklayer, Mateusz Birkut (played by Jerzy Radziwiłowicz), who became the symbol of an over-achieving worker, in Nowa Huta, a new socialist city near Kraków. Agnieszka, played by Krystyna Janda in her first role, is a young filmmaker who is making her diploma film (a student graduation requirement) on Birkut, whose whereabouts seems to have been lost two decades later. The title refers to the propagandist marble statues made in Birkut's image.

From the 2014 review by Philip French in The Guardian: [...] A major milestone in Polish cinema, Man of Marble comes from a period of political thaw, moderate affluence and agonised self-questioning between the end of hardline postwar Stalinism in the 1950s and the return of authoritarianism, which culminated in the imposition of martial law in 1981.

Contemplated by Andrzej Wajda ever since he completed his war trilogy in 1959, and much influenced by Citizen Kane, it features the movie debut of the charismatic 25-year Krystyna Janda as tough, chain-smoking film-school student Agnieszka, dressed in flared jeans and denim jacket. She's working on her graduation project, a controversial documentary in the then fashionable American cinéma vérité style. ("No tripods, just hand-held cameras and wide-angle lens," she tells her middle-aged cameraman.) Its subject is Mateusz Birkut (Jerzy Radziwiłowicz), a long-forgotten Stakhanovite bricklayer who became a Stalinist hero, the focus of propagandist documentaries, and then disappeared into obscurity, a victim of the system.[...]

From 1979 review from New York Times: [...] Andrzej Wajda, Poland's greatest film maker, is quoted as having said that one cannot commit heroic acts if they are useless. Such an act is a tree falling in the middle of the forest where there is no one to hear. A heroic act that accomplishes nothing is as abstract as the gesture of a gymnast. This is something to keep in mind if you can possibly get to see Mr. Wajda's extraordinary 1977 film "Man of Marble," which is being shown today at 3:15 P.M. and 9 P.M. at the Hunter College Assembly Hall. "Man of Marble" is one of nine films being screened in the eight-day Wajda retrospective that will end tomorrow. [...]

Trailer here:

See you at the third Friday of the month - February 17th at the OKO film!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

January 20, 2017: Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi (at Polish Home)

Film Aperitif:  'Tango' by Polish animator Zbigniew Rybczynski won the Academy Award for Best Short Animation in 1983. It is a mesmerizing 8 minutes animation set entirely in one room in which a series of events take place, repeat and overlap each other in time to a tango soundtrack. 

After being rescheduled and cancelled THREE times Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi (2013,  by Slawomir Grunberg) will finally make it to OKO on January 20, 2017, 7:30 pm - see you there! Below a copy of the original post and a trailer.

Documentary film about over 1400 Polish refugees from the Soviet camps in Siberia who in 1943 arrived in a Mexican ranch of Santa Rosa at the invitation of President Manuel Ávila Camacho.

Santa Rosa became their home for a number of years to come. Mexico was the only country outside the British Commonwealth that offered assistance in solving the humanitarian crisis of thousands of Polish WW2 refugees displaced in temporary camps in Iran.

After the end of the war and the closing of Santa Rosa colony, only 87 refugees returned to Poland. Most of them immigrated to the United States. Those who settled in Chicago set up the Santa Rosa Club and once a year they gather to reminisce the good old days to the sounds of music remembered from childhood.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

'Spitfire Liberator: The Alex Herbst Story' - 11/25 • 7:30 pm at Polish Home

Well, another change: the film originally scheduled for November is sitting at Scarecrow awesome collection and could be brought in anytime so it can wait, while  OKO member and the film co-producer, Krzysztof Poraj-Kuczewski offered to present on our November session his documentary film about Alex Herbst and invited Alex to our screening!

Attention: 11/25 is FOURTH Friday of the month (the day after Thanksgiving) - change from 3rd Friday due to scheduling problems.

Spitfire Liberator: The Alex Herbst Story, directed by Sławomir Ciok. Captain Witold "Alex" Herbst is a WWII fighter pilot who was flying Spitfires with the famous Polish RAF squadrons 303 & 308 in missions over Great Britain and Europe.

"[...] Alex Herbst tells his story for a documentary which is about the will of flying that never dies. This is also a sentimental and partly virtual trip to the most important places of Alex Herbst’s life in Poland, Romania, Turkey, and France, UK and the USA including his visit to the present aviation industry.[...]  More on  Blue Horizon site..

Trailer here:

Here is a British TV production showing 303 squadron - 50 minutes documentary 'Bloody foreigners. Untold Battle of Britain' (in English, with Polish subtitles), or you could watch it bigger screen on youtube:

Here is link to photos from the 'Spitfire Liberator' premiere event.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

SPFF opening night: Sugihara Chiune, "Persona Non Grata" 10/14 at Uptown

Kino OKO will be back in November (see listing at the bottom of this post), as October is Seattle Polish Film Festival (SPFF) time!!!!

After its world premiere in Lithuania in October 2015, a new film about Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, "Persona Non Grata," opens SPFF (Seattle Polish Film Festival) next Friday, October 14 at SIFF Cinema Uptown at 6:30 pm. Director Cellin Gluck will be present for the film screening, followed by Q &A.

The film tells the story of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara who was posted in Lithuania during World War II, and who defied orders and issued over 2,000 transit visas to Jewish refugees, famously continuing to sign visas even as his train pulled away from the station. He is estimated to have saved over 6,000 lives from the Nazis, who invaded Lithuania a year later in 1941.

Directed by Japanese American Cellin Gluck, "Persona Non Grata" was filmed in Poland and stars Japanese actors Toshiaki Karasawa and Koyuki, and Polish actors Borys Szyc and Agnieszka Grochowska.

WHEN:  Friday, October 14th, 6;30 pm
WHERE: SIFF Cinema Uptown on 511 Queen Anne Ave N. Seattle 98109
You can buy tickets right before the film or on-line via SIIF; tickets and FB page here:

Here is an informative article about the film from nippon.com...

And a January 2016 interview with Cellin Gluck, Director Of “Persona Non Grata,” from forward.com.

Trailer here:

* * * * * 
Remaining 2016 OKO screenings:

• November 18, Friday 7:30 pm
‘The mill and the cross’, Lech Majewski, 2010, the world of a painting, and the man who painted it (Pieter Bruegel).  Roger Ebert's  review here (4 stars)

• December 16, Friday 7:30 pm:
‘Moonlighting’, Jerzy Skolimowski, 1982 (w/Jeremy Iron), film response to the crushing of Solidarity. Roger Ebert's  review here (4 stars)