Tradition of honesty

Belarusian and Polish cultures have been enriching each other for a long time existing in the system of parallel coordinates. A strong spiritual bond dictates a dialogue. It is interesting for us to learn something new about the Poles, to get acquainted with unexplored pages of their history. Recently the opening night of the film “Katyn” by Andrzey Wajda has been held in Minsk with the assistance of Polish Institute
Belarusian and Polish cultures have been enriching each other for
a long time existing in the system of parallel coordinates. A strong spiritual bond dictates a dialogue. It is interesting for us to learn something new about the Poles, to get acquainted with unexplored pages of their history. Recently the opening night of the film “Katyn” by Andrzey Wajda has been held in Minsk with the assistance of Polish Institute.

Polish cinema is included into the elite list of European cinematographic life. In its time it was in vogue and demand in Eastern Europe having left far behind Czech, Hungarian cinema, saying nothing of Romanian one which was the “latest child” of this creative family. (Romanian cinematographers have recently made their names reconstructing the socialistic time atmosphere on the screen). Polish cinema classicists hurried to speak out about the contemporary more precisely and comprehensively without putting their impressions off. If they set about reconstruction of historical events on the screen, they were honest to the utmost. They continue this tradition today.
Films by Krzysztof Keślewsky, Andrzey Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi excited minds and carried a powerful civil and even a publicistic charge. Each painter talks to the viewer in his own authorial register without getting out of time or borrowing alien steps. Keślewsky can be called the most pessimistic Polish cinematographer. His leisurely, involving and hypnotizing works are full of atmosphere of detachment and loneliness. The heroine of his film “Endless,” a widow of a famous lawyer, doesn’t find forces for a struggle and commits suicide when she gets into millstones of political and judicial proceedings. Heroes of another psychological drama under the title of “Occasion” don’t see the way out of a moral dead end. The most optimistic part of his trilogy “Three colors” — “Red” ends up with the death of a big passenger motor ship. However, the stage director decided to leave the main characters alive. This is how he finished the story about entwinement of human destinies with a pompous humanistic accord.
A common story (titled “Obsessed”) by Andrzey Zhuławski, another master of mystical constructions and incredible stylish reincarnations, telling about adultery of a mad bourgeois lady played by Isabel Adjani ends up with a nuclear bombing and a suicidal scene of the main heroine’s little son.
Such a fatal version of events, which acquires religious and Biblical implication to the end, is typical of Polish cinema. It seems that it is not afraid to look into the blackest mirror and its reflection. Polish stage-directors were not afraid of telling aloud their national and psychological complexes, but they didn’t suffer from messianism. There was a personal charge in their works, deeply felt, pained and justified even in the toughest form.
One of the biggest values of Polish cinema Andrzey Wajda has never been mystical, because he is sure that a real “battle-field is a human heart.” There was an opening night of his new work in Minsk, which, on the one hand, was sensational and, on the other hand, shamefacedly concealed. This was “Katyn” about the destiny of Polish officers made prisoners by Soviet soldiers and shot down in 1940. The stage director’s father, captain Jakub Wajda, was among 22 thousand of killed officers.
“A real topic of the film about Katyn is secrets and lie, which turned this crime into a taboo subject,” Wajda confessed on the eve of the opening night. “This is why I paid my attention not to the victims of the homicide, but to their relatives asking the question “why?” all through their lives. In spite of the fact that the actor Sergey Garmash from Moscow played in this film, Russian cinematographers refused from the uncoming project. Well... They didn’t want to hear Wajda who reminded by his work that Slavic nations have a common historical memory and common tragedies. However, it seems to be out of fashion and unprofitable today. It is much more convenient to romanticize Kolchak, feel sad about the mods of the 60’s and bring a senseless “Love-Carrot” on the screen.
Let us note that “Katyn” screening in Minsk would have been impossible if not for the assistance of Polish Institute. It was established in 1994 and is closely associated with high culture and spirituality. Last year the Institute organized the Days of Polish cinema, evenings of Polish poetry, chamber concerts with participation of laureates of international contests in Belarusian State Philharmonic Hall, a photo exhibition in the gallery “World of Photo,” concerts of the band “BLUESZCZ BLUES BAND” within the frames of the IIIrd International Festival “Minsk Blues-2008,” a personal exhibition of the painter Andrzey Koneczny in the Museum of Contemporary Figurative Art and the exhibition “Ways of Independence” dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Independence of Poland in the National Museum of History and Culture of Belarus. The Institute’s activity is not limited to the capital. The painter Erzy Piątek’s exhibition under the name of “Sadness of a wonderful province” was held in Vitebsk. A theatrical premiere titled “I, she and Batman” was arranged in the Republican Palace of Trade Unions as well as jazz concerts.
All this gives solid grounds to confirm that active cultural cooperation of Poland and Belarus will be continued this year.

Sergey Petrov
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