NEW BRITAIN - Movie buffs and people interested in the political and cultural history of Poland will enjoy the first-ever Polish Film Festival at Central Connecticut State University Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.
The festival will focus on thought-provoking movies that highlight significant moments in Polish history as seen through the eyes of people who lived the experience, said Renata Vickrey, archivist and community outreach librarian and a member of the advisory board to the Polish Studies Program.
“Poland is known for the Polish School of film and films are a very good way to show the history of the country and the events of the past,” Vickrey said. “We wanted to do this over a span of days to see if this is a formula that would work with the audience.”
In the past, the Polish Studies program would host a lecture, music or a film with a talk on the historical context of the movie, Vickrey said. This time, the program is hosting four films in three days that will feature political and cultural events in Poland. All films are free and will be shown in the Torp Theatre, in the Davidson Building at CCSU. Parking is also free.
“Films are a great way to share with others from any generation the history of any country,” she said.
The festival opens Friday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. with “Excentrycy, czyli po slonecznej stronie ulicy,” (The Eccentrics: The Sunny Side of the Street,) which is a film about the 1950s and 1960s in Poland. The movie is in Polish with English subtitles.
“It was an interesting time in Polish history,” Vickrey said. “Many soldiers in World War II didn’t know if they should return to Poland or emigrate. This is about a soldier who went back.”
On Saturday Sept. 30 ,the festival will kick off with a showing of the 55-minute film, “Krzyz i Korona” (The Cross and The Crown), at 3 p.m. The documentary is in Polish only and discusses the baptism of Poland 1051 years ago when Poland was recognized as a country that embraced Christianity and the pope.
The documentary will be immediately followed by “Letnie Przesilenie” (Summer Solstice), a film about the friendship between a young German and a young Pole who are joined together by their love of music even as they are on opposing sides during World War II. The film is in Polish with English subtitles.
“In Poland, I think, we are masters of making movies about World War II,” Vickrey said. The movie shows a different perspective, she said. “It wasn’t only the battles,” she added. “It was the young lives that were interrupted.”
Sunday’s film, “Wolyn” (Hatred), will begin at 3 p.m. with a talk on the historical context of the movie by Dr. M. B. B. Biskupski. The film is in Polish with English subtitles. The movie is based on a collection of short stories about the region of Volhynia just before World War II and the marriage of a Polish man and a Ukrainian woman.
The film focuses on “something important that happened in Polish and Ukrainian history,” Vickrey said. “This is a very important movie. I’m sure it will evoke interest.”
Guests can continue the discussion when refreshments are served after the film ends.
The festival is sponsored by The S. A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish Studies and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York. Since the university is state-run, people are free to browse and use the Polish Heritage book collection and Polish archives at the university.
For more information on the Polish Film Festival, call 860-832-3010 or visit www.ccsu.edu/polishstudies .