Next film: Marcel Lozinski's documentaries part 2 • April 20th, Wednesday • please VOTE below

Below are synopsis of the remaining movies from two Lozinski's CDs - I haven't seen any of them (no PAL dvd player), so for compilation below used the booklet that came with the CD set, authored by Tadeusz Sobolewski.

Please read and vote for the film YOU would like to see - because most of the films are relatively short we probably will be able to see several top-runners.

The poll allows for multiple choices (you can vote for up to 3 movies):

1.  HAPPY END / HAPPY END 1972/16'
Lozinski's first film:  real psychodrama taking place in front of camera and exploring themes of herd mentality and aggression of group towards individual.  In this film director for the first time  tries formula which he later uses in many films: artificially provoking situations he needs in order  to probe the mentality of protagonists and reveal something.

Camera is recreating the life of a model railway worker, for whom his work is all that matters.  Right before retirement fatigued Marian Cudny causes a minor crash and the film shows job-leaving ceremony which in reality hadn't been held as the crash cancels his life-long service  as a 'labor-leader'.  One of the first Polish documentaries not glorifying the 'worker', but bringing to light his slave status.

3.  JAK ZYC / HOW TO LIVE 1977/82'
Fenced summer camp for young married couple organized in line with the party line, aimed at educating and integrating, but the guidelines turn it into a menacing grotesque, where  the participants compete for the most ideal couple (prize: washing machine).  Director is interested in how the mechanism of conformism works and why people under pressure turn not against their oppressors but against those who break the rules.

Healer clive Harris visits Poland and organizes haling seances in churches, attracting thousands who spontaneously self-organize into informal assistance committees, where people selflessly act and help others, a premonition of the forthcoming rise of the 'solidarity' movement, modeled on the 'workers' defense committee'.  Director is interested in the atmosphere of anticipation of the time, and also in helpful gestures of the people who assist the suffering in getting the act of healing.

Matriculation exam from social and political sciences in one of Warsaw's high schools, which consists of reciting the textbook-learned ideological formulas that are defunct both to students and teachers.  Outside the exam room the students will join others in laughing at their answers.   The film illustrates the theater of social life in PRL where one says different things on the stage and different behind the scenes.

The young radio broadcaster at the Pollena-Uroda cosmetics factory in Warsaw asks if the workers  feel they have a say in running the factory, as gets frank answers that they don't. The management is angered and tries to censor and propagandize him, and when not successful fires him.  At the same time Lozinski was expelled from film production company, but life added an interesting epilogue to the film because of the rise of Solidarity: the young broadcaster found a job at Polish Radio, quit the party and was interned during the martial law of 1981.  'The film has changed his life' - Lozinski says with satisfaction.

Lozinski's first documentary after martial law, made at the time when social apathy was at its highest level.  He is doing a street poll  asking randomly selected people what they think of contemporary youth.  The first part of the film shows the real footage where some people are hedging, while others speak out in despair; second part shows intentionally badly manipulated footage that changes its meaning, and third part the state of the art type of media distortion where inconvenient parts are edited out producing effect that nothing matters and everybody is just smiling.

The film's construction is very simple: it is the Polish eye-witnesses account of the dark moment in Polish history: Kielce Pogrom of 1946, where a polish mob, instigated by reports of a ritual murder, committed a premeditated murder  of 42 Jews, a holocaust survivors, with the militia and the army taking part.  Besides the story itself, the film constitutes a key thread of many Lozinski's documentaries: a study of of a crowd, the herd thinking and acting as well as different attitudes among some of the witnesses.

9.  89 MM OD EUROPY / 99 MM FROM EUROPE 1993/11'
The film is set at the Polish-Bielarussian border crossing in Brest where trains from western Europe stop to be placed on Russian tracks that are 89 mm wider.  A Moscow-bound train from Paris is coming, the carriages are lifted while the wheels are replaced - everyday activity there.  We know that the little boy in the story is the director's son who shares his life between Paris and Moscow.  When the film was shot in early 1990s the illusion arose that the world is integrating, that the lines between classes, nations, systems and people were breaking.  Meanwhile, no progress has been made since - the gauge of the of the east-bound tracks will always differ.

4/18/11 - Sol put a link (in comments) to an article about Lozinski's newest movie - looks very interesting, and it's partially about himself.  I like his movies, but find them a bit strange, so yes, would very much like to see it to understand his point of view better.  Here a fragment of the article, and an active link below (use google translator - link to Polish/English above, in the top bar):

Jest rok 1949. Wera, córka Toni, stoi ze swoim dziewięcioletnim braciszkiem Marcelem na progu domu dziecka, dokąd ich skierowano po aresztowaniu matki. Dzieci są same, czekają długo. W końcu ktoś otwiera drzwi, pyta: "Kto wy jesteście?". "My jesteśmy dzieci komunistów" - odpowiada rezolutnie Wera i podaje wychowawczyni teczkę swoich dokumentów. Tamta krzyczy: "Znowu nam tę żydokomunę przysyłają!". "Wtedy po raz pierwszy usłyszałam to słowo" - dodaje z uśmiechem Wera. Tak zaczyna się opowieść o Toni i jej dzieciach. 


4/24/11 • At the last OKO we watched 'Zderzenie Czolowe / Front Collision' (1975), 'Egzamin Dojrzalosci / Matriculation' (1978), 'Proba Mikrofonu / Microphone's Test' (1980) and 'Cwiczenia Warsztatowe /Practice Excercises' (1984)...  

What can I say: I don't particularly get along with Lozinski's movies, but I cannot stop being interesting in them.  Or, in other words: I'm very much intrigued by the social questions he puts forward, but somehow not particularly happy about the way he goes after answers...  I feel teased: here -  a thing that always interested you -  how does propaganda work, or what happens when one doesn't follow society rules...  But the answers are like produced by an alien to my world...


  1. An interesting new documentary by Lozinksi, take a look:,75475,9451408,Ostatnie_slowo_Marcela_Lozinskiego.html

  2. thanks. Sol - very interesting. i'm going to put an active link above.


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Polish Movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Since OKO meets only once a month, here is a list of movies in Polish, with English subtitles, available on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Documentaries are not included. If you are into that genre, there is a ton available! Enjoy!