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.

ATTENTION FEBRUARY 2019: OKO's mission changed to promote survival of the Polish language among the immigrants: we will still strive to show films with the English subtitles, but it's no longer a major priority. Watch each post for the info on whether the subtitles are provided. We hope you continue to enjoy the Polish Films!

See you at Kino OKO and thank you for being a film friend. OKO logo by Iza Turski.

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)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday, September 16th - Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi (at Polish Home)

OKO is going on summer vacation (Polish Home closed July and August) - the next film will be a repeat screening of the Slawomir Grunberg's 2013 documentary 'Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi' (originally screened May 6 at UW campus). For info and trailer see the previous post below (under info about 'Karski' film. )

See you all  Friday, September 16 at 7:30 pm for the tale of Polish refugees from  Siberia who ended up in Santa Rosa, Mexico during WW2.   Safe summer travels!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Double Grunberg: 'Karski and the Lords of Humanity' 5/5 & 'Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi' 5/6

May 5 & 6 – two documentary films by Sławomir Grünberg, who will be in Seattle for the premiere of his latest filmKarski and the Lords of Humanity.

1.) Thursday, May 5th, 2016, 7:45 pm - Karski and the Lords of Humanity, 2015 (at Ezra Bessaroth)

Jan Karski was a WWII Polish underground envoy who in 1942 brought from occupied Poland eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to the attention of to the personal attention of President Roosevelt and other powerful world's leaders.  It is a feature-length documentary that combines animation with actual footage and narration from interviews with Jan Karski. Watch a trailer: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/jankarski

The film will be presented by Congregation Ezra Bessaroth and supported by the Polish Honorary Consul in Seattle, Seattle Polish Foundation , the UW Polish Studies Endowment Committee, and Seattle Polish Film Festival

Where: at the Congregation Ezra Bessaroth in Seattle, parking entry from Wilson Ave; ticket $10  or $50 (individual sponsorship) at  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/karski-and-the-lords-of-humanity-tickets-22188197496
At the door tickets $15.

KARSKI film trailer here:

2.) Friday, May 6th, 2016 - Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi, 2013 (at UW campus)

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.

The film will be presented at UW, supported by the UW Polish Studies Endowment Committee, the Polish Honorary Consul in Seattle,  Consulate of Mexico in Seattle and kino OKO.

Where: Thompson Hall 101 at the University of Washington campus in Seattle (King Ln, Seattle, WA 98105); admission free

SANTA ROSA trailer here:

Sławomir Grünberg is an Emmy Award winning documentary producer, director and cameraman. He is a graduate of the Polish Film School in Lodz. He immigrated to the US in 1981 and has since directed and produced over 45 documentary films.
His works, which focus on critical social, political, environmental issues with a special interest in Polish-Jewish theme, have won him international recognition. Grünberg is a recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts and Soros Justice Media Fellowships. His credits as director of photography include two films, which received Academy Award nominations

Friday, February 26, 2016

'Papusza' screening moved to April 22!

May harbinger: Double with Slawomir Grunberg (dir. will be present at both screenings): 5/5, Thu, 7:30 pm: 'Karski' at Ezra Bessaroth,  for tickets/directions click here
& 5/6,  'Fri, 7 pm 'Santa Rosa' at UW Thomson Hall 101, Free.  More details later.

Spring Bazaar in Polish Home is on Saturday, March 19th - the room needs to be prepared a day in advance and cannot accommodate the Kino OKO goers on usual 3rd Friday of the month.  Therefore the screening of the film 'Papusza' is moved to Friday, April 15th 22nd (sorry, another event collision caused another date change).

Friday, 4/22: 'Papusza', directed by Joanna Kos-Krauze & Krzysztof Krauze, music by Jan Kanty Pawluskiewicz, 2013. In Roma/Polish with English subtitles.

True story of Papusza - the first Roma woman who put her poems into writing and published them, and therefore confronted the traditional female image in the gypsy community.

The film follows Papusza’s life from birth to old age: arranged marriage as a small girl, her life in a gypsy tabor before, during and after second world war, then forced settlement in communist Poland and urban life in poverty. Her meeting with the Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski, who discovered her great talent for poetry and published her works led to a tragic paradox: a famous poet was living in poverty, rejected by the Roma community, for betraying their secrets.

Cast: Jowita Budnik (Bronisława Wajs - Papusza), Zbigniew Waleryś (Dionizy Wajs, Papusza's husband), Antoni Pawlicki (Jerzy Ficowski), Artur Steranko (Czarnecki), Maja Maissner, Andrzej Walden (Julian Tuwim), Marcin Bartnikowski (announcer), Ryszard Mróz (warden), Krzysztof Bochenek (caretaker), Jerzy Gudejko (minister)

Trailer here:

"Jan Kanty Pawluśliewicz's score matches the image perfectly, often resembling the sounds of nature," writes Michał Hernes in his website for Stopklatka.pl.

"From Papusza's first breathtaking image, a wide shot of a gipsy camp in 1910, the black and white photography of Krzysztof Ptak and Wojciech Staroń raises the aesthetic bar of the film to a level rarely achieved by black-and-white cinema," writes Domenico La Porta in a review published on the Cineuropa website.

More links to reviews on "Papusza" page of the Polish Film Institute (go to "Papusza" reviews in the tab on the right side).
• • • • •
If you have a favorite film you'd like to see in Kino OKO in the future, please leave a comment about it (title and director/year, if known) below this post.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Comedy LADIES on Friday, Feb.19, 7:30 pm

Friday, February 19th at Polish Home, upper room - start at 7:30 (room set up and short intro about the film and its director);  actual screening at 8 pm sharp: Tomasz Konecki's  Ladies / Lejdis,  comedy, 2008. Polish with English subtitles.

Plot: Four childhood girlfriends, now adult women,  gather each New Year's Eve (which they celebrate in summer) to track the progress of their lives, make resolutions, and discuss their relationships with men.

The film was a huge hit in its homeland when released - we might discuss the issue of the use of humor in the film form and what happens when translated, since the cognitive process of amusement is very much dependent on the social and cultural context.  It was was shown at SPFF several years ago and met a very good reception.

There is not much about the director, Tomasz Konecki in English on the internet;  this is from wikipedia: Tomasz Konecki (born 22 April 1962 in Warsaw) is Polish film director.  A graduate of Warsaw University, he worked with TVP1. He has directed six films such as Testosteron and Lejdis. Movies that he creates are ones of the best hits in comedy category. [...] Not much more at the link above...

From Polish sources I gathered that Konecki  is a Warsaw University physics department graduate, one time philosophy student who got his PhD diploma from Polish Academy of Sciences; he also played sax in a student band Deformacja.  He had his own TV program from 1994-1997 where he created several dozen documentaries, until his film director's debut in 2000 with a full feature film titled 'Half-Serious', followed by the black comedy 'Body' (2003) for which he was given a  'Golden Duck' award by the Film magazine for The Best Polish Film of that year.  From then on he became a very commercially successful, many times nominated and awarded comedy director: 'Tango z aniołem' , 2005-2006, 'Testosteron', 2007, 'Lejdis' 2008, 'The Perfect Guy for My Girl' - Polish: 'Idealny facet dla mojej dziewczyny', 2009.

For your perusal: found this quite academic dissertation from Marta Dynel, titled: Women who swear and men who fret: The subversive construction of genders in films: A case study of 'Lejdis' and 'Testosteron',  here:

See you at Kino OKO!  ola
Thank you SPFF for sharing this film with OKO!

March OKO harbinger: Friday, 3/18: 'Papusza', directed by Joanna Kos-Krauze & Krzysztof Krauze, music by Jan Kanty Pawluskiewicz, 2013. A story of Bronislawa Wajs, Roma poetess, and her  life, and how her life converged with that of two poets - Jerzy Ficowski and Julian Tuwim...

Monday, January 11, 2016

'The double life of Veronique' this Friday, Jan. 15, 7:30 pm

This friday, 1/15 at Polish Home, upper room - start at 7:30 (room set up and short intro about the director);  actual screening at 8 pm sharp:

Kieslowski’s  'The Double Life of Veronique' (1991). Polish/French with English subtitles.

[...] (French: La double vie de Véronique, Polish: Podwójne życie Weroniki) is a 1991 French- and Polish-language drama film directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski and starring Irène Jacob.

Written by Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz, the film explores the themes of identity, love, and human intuition through the characters of Weronika, a Polish choir soprano, and her double, Véronique, a French music teacher. The two women do not know each other, and yet they share a mysterious and emotional bond that transcends language and geography.

The film is notable for Sławomir Idziak's innovative cinematography and Zbigniew Preisner's haunting operatic score. The film was Kieślowski's first to be produced partly outside his native Poland. The Double Life of Véronique won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival for Krzysztof Kieslowski, and the Best Actress Award for Irène Jacob. [...] More at wikipedia...

Roger Eber (4 stars) full review here:  "[...] This is one of the most beautiful films I've seen. The cinematographer, Slawomir Idziak, finds a glow in Irene Jacob's pre-Raphaelite beauty. He uses a rich palette, including insistent reds and greens that don't "stand" for anything but have the effect of underlining the other colors [...]

The director will NOT be present at the screening - you can read about his life here: [...] Kieślowski's last four films, his most commercially successful, were foreign co-productions, made mainly with money from France and in particular from Romanian-born producer Marin Karmitz. These focused on moral and metaphysical issues along lines similar to The Decalogue and Blind Chance but on a more abstract level, with smaller casts, more internal stories, and less interest in communities. Poland appeared in these films mostly through the eyes of European outsiders. [...]

And here info about Zbigniew Preisner, Kieslowski's trusted  film score composer, whose memorable music  lingers with you long after you finished watching the films: [...]Zbigniew Preisner was born in Bielsko-Biała, and studied history and philosophy in Kraków. Never having received formal music lessons, he taught himself music by listening and transcribing parts from records. His compositional style represents a distinctively spare form of tonal neo-Romanticism. Paganini and Jean Sibelius are acknowledged influences. [...] 

I couldn't find  a trailer with English subtitles - here is one in Polish:

And here one from Zahranicni Trailery in French, but it needs no words, Dvojí život Veroniky:

See you in KINO OKO!  ola

P.S. Just noticed there is serious, phd-level (or reading-the-tea-leaves-level) Kieslowski's discussion going on on the net; I particularly like this dissertation by Tasha Robinson on the film forum 'Dissolve':

'[...] The first shot of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 1991 film The Double Life Of Veronique is a pan across a nighttime cityscape, seen through a murky haze of smog… and seen upside down, from the point of view of a little girl being dangled head-downward, as her mother tells her to look for a particular star. Then Kieslowski cuts to a fuzzy blur with a gigantic magnified eye in the middle of it—the eye of another little girl in a different country (but played by the same child), looking at a leaf through a magnifying glass, as her mother tells her to examine it closely and appreciate the fine veins. The next shot, as the credits roll, is a woman walking in a public place, flattened and stretched through a lens, with washes of color and darkness passing over her; it’s hard to guess at her age, or the setting, or the era. In less than three minutes, Kieslowski distorts reality three times, giving viewers no hint how the three strange images are connected. [...]

 [...] Even in projects like the Decalogue series, based on the Biblical 10 Commandments, and the Three Colors trilogy, based on the colors and concepts of the French flag, Kieslowski doesn’t tend to underline his themes; he leaves them to the audience to interpret. But here, he tells them exactly what they need to do to make sense of the film: Watch for the details. Accept, even if things seem unfamiliar, or altered from the usual way of seeing them. [...]'

[...]Again, Kieslowski warns viewers that the world isn’t entirely what it looks like. [...]
The rest of the article here: