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.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Friday, December 15th: 80 MILLION, 2011 film by Waldemar Krzystek

Film host: Joanna Filipek brings us another film about Solidarity  era: activists prepare a bravura heist, taking out 80 mln from a union bank account just before it is blocked by communist authorities.

As always, with English subtitles at Polish Home upstairs, Friday, December 15, 7:30 pm.  We actually mean 7:30 sharp from now on, no waiting for people showing up at 8 pm, as it's hard to start the film discussion late at night, when everybody thinks about safely getting home.

80 Million (Polish: 80 milionów) is a 2011 Polish drama film directed by Waldemar Krzystek. The film was selected as the Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist

From Hollywood Reporter:  [...] Based on real events, the official Polish entry in the Best Foreign Language Oscar race is a punchy period thriller with a universal feel-good message. Set at the dawn of Poland’s final turbulent decade under the yoke of Soviet Communism, 80 Million joins the swelling ranks of dramas from former Eastern Bloc nations that re-examine the dying days of Russian rule - films like Kolya from the Czech Republic, The Lives of Others from Germany, and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days from Romania. It may just be coincidence, but two of these three won Academy Awards.

The 58-year-old director Waldemar Krzystek grew up under Communism, but 80 Million is less a political drama than a lively hybrid of action movie, heist thriller and dark comedy. Shot in a fairly conventional but fast-paced style, it features double agents, treacherous lovers, divided families, car chases and wily Catholic priests working for the anti-government underground. Classic spy-movie material, in other words, with a stirring and easily understood good-vs-evil plotline that could play well to foreign audiences with the right marketing. [...]

From Eye for Film: [...] Though 80 Million may lack the wit and style of most bank robbery films, the awareness that this is a true story makes it differently gripping. Patient, observational, it generates tension from small glances and elicits sympathy wih its depiction of everyday lives, which by contrast make the scale of the scheme awe-inspiring. In a pivotal scene, the thieves discover that they haven't brought enough bags for all the cash - they literally couldn't imagine that much money. [...]


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Friday, November 17: ALL THAT I LOVE, 2009 film by Jacek Borcuch

Film host: our UW Polish Studies Fulbright scholar, Dr. Justyna Budzik, with a story that takes us back to times of rising Solidarity movement.

As always, with English subtitles at Polish Home upstairs, Friday, November 17, 7:30 pm.  We actually mean 7:30 sharp from now on, no waiting for people showing up at 8 pm, as it's hard to start the film discussion late at night, when everybody thinks about safely getting home.

All That I Love  •  Poland 1981: Behind the iron curtain, Janek, the teenage son of a navy captain, forms ATIL (All That I Love), a punk-rock band whose songs express a frustration with socialism and a desire for freedom, echoing the sentiments of the rising Solidarity movement. At the same time, Janek finds love with Basia, a young woman whose father is part of the movement and disapproves of Janek’s military family. When growing social turmoil leads to martial law, Janek’s relationships and ATIL’s music cause serious consequences for his family members, lovers, and friends.

Original title: Wszystko co kocham
Cast: Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Olga Frycz, Jakub Gierszal, Andrzej Chyra, Anna Radwan, Katarzyna Herman, Mateusz Banasiuk, Marek Kalita, Igor Obloza
Music: Daniel Bloom

From Hollywood Reporter: You don't usually find the words "warm" and "lyrical" associated with punk rock, but filmmaker Jacek Borcuch proceeds to bring the seemingly contradictory elements together in "All That I Love," a Polish coming-of-age drama set against the political backdrop of the Solidarity movement circa 1981.
Graced by dynamic lead performances and spirited direction, this autobiographical film proves hard to resist even if it lacks the sort of rawness and restlessness that usually goes with the punk territory. [...]

From IndieWire (Brandon Judell on 2010 SIFF): [...] Jacek Borcuch’s “All That I Love” from Poland is a highly affable feature about a group of lads forming a punk rock band in 1981 as their country goes totalitarian. Unlikely heroes, they get to sing, and the lead loses his virginity on a beach. What better way is there to spend one’s youth? [...]

From Culture.PL: [...] The film received favourable reviews at the Gdynia Festival and won the art direction award (Elwira Pluta) and Złoty Klakier / Golden Clapper Audience Award for the most applauded film.
The film was the first Polish production to screen at the Sundance film festival, making its debut in 2010. The Polish Oscar Commission, chaired by filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, selected the film as its candidate for the Foreign Language Film category for the 2011 Academy Awards.  [...]

Sunday, October 1, 2017


No OKO film in October, as SPFF is here, with many great new films!

Check their Facebook page for updates here:

And their schedule, when they upload it here:

See you at the polish films!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Friday, September 15th: ‘Chinatown’, 1974 film by Roman Polanski

OKO celebrates ‘Chinatown’, 1974 film by internationally acclaimed Polish director, producer, writer, and actor Roman Polanski at Polish Home upstairs, Friday, September 15, 7:30 pm.

'Chinatown' is Polanski's 7th feature-length film. His first one,  Knife in the Water (1962), was made in Poland and was nominated for a United States Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In the United Kingdom he directed three films, beginning with Repulsion (1965). In 1968 he moved to the United States and cemented his status by directing the horror film Rosemary's Baby (1968).  A turning point in his life took place in 1969, when his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and four friends were brutally murdered by members of the Manson Family. Following her death, Polanski returned to Europe. He made Macbeth (1971) in England and back in Hollywood, Chinatown (1974), which was nominated for eleven Academy Awards.

From wikipedia: Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the California Water Wars, a series of disputes over southern California water at the beginning of the 20th century, by which Los Angeles interests secured water rights in the Owens Valley. The Robert Evans production, a Paramount Pictures release, was the director's last film in the United States and features many elements of film noir, particularly a multi-layered story that is part mystery and part psychological drama.

In 1991, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and it is frequently listed as one of the greatest films of all time.  At the 47th Academy Awards, it was nominated for 11 Oscars, with Towne winning Best Original Screenplay. The Golden Globe Awards honored it for Best Drama, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay. The American Film Institute placed it second among mystery films in 2008.

From IndieWire5 Things You Might Not Know About Roman Polanski’s ‘Chinatown’[...]

3. Towne’s script originally had a happy ending.
As you might be able to tell at this point, it was a contentious production, with Evans, Polanski and Towne fighting pretty consistently throughout. The writer and director worked on the script for two months together in the spring of 1973, a script that Towne thought needed no improvement. Polanski recalled to Peter Biskind how they would sit there with Towne’s dog as the scribe smoked a pipe: “The goddamn dog would lie on my feet in this hot room and drool. Bob would fill his pipe and smoke, and this smoke filled up the room — it was really a hard experience for eight weeks of that. Bob would fight for every word, for every line of the dialogue as if it was carved in marble.” And Towne confirms that, “We fought, every day, over everything. Names. ‘What’s her name?’ ‘No, it can’t be that, it’s too Jewish.’ ” They came into conflict on everything from whether there should actually be a scene set in Chinatown to the noirish voiceover narration (which Polanski would cut in post-production, winning that particular battle). It was the ending that was the major bone of contention between the two, however. Towne had originally written a conclusion where Evelyn survived and killed her father. But Polanski was in a darker place — it was his first time in L.A. since the murder of his wife Sharon Tate four years earlier — and later told Biskind “I thought it was a serious movie, not an adventure story for the kids,” while Towne later summed up the director’s argument as “That’s life. Beautiful blondes die in Los Angeles. Sharon had.” Nevertheless, the scribe refused to budge for the longest time, but says that Polanski eventually persuaded him to write an alternate version: “Roman said ‘I want it written this way,’ and I responded ‘I think it would be very bad if I wrote it that way.’ He said ‘Well, try it anyway.’ So I did, and brought it back to him and said ‘See, it’s so melodramatic.’ Roman said ‘No, it’s perfect.’ We said more about it, but not much. That was that.” And so Noah Cross survived, and Evelyn is killed with a shot through the eye by the police — a nod, Dunaway says, to the story of Oedipus.

• • • • • •

Future films:
• Friday October 20 - ‘Solaris’, based on Stanislaw Lem’s book of the same title. Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 adaptation (Rating: 3.5/4) is somewhat superior to  Steven Soderbergh’s version of 2002 (Rating: 4/4, with George Clooney), but we’ll go with the latter version for 2 reasons:
  - it’s 1 hour SHORTER: please views the superb Tarkovsky's version in your  own time
-  this thought fro Roger Ebert: If they thought Soderbergh's smart, seductive rhythms were boring, they would have been catatonic after the Tarkovsky version.

• Friday, November 17:  ‘The Passenger’ -   unfinished 1963 Polish film directed by Andrzej Munk.    Recently an opera was made out of it:

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!