April 8—15, 2024


Stanislaw Różewicz’s 100th birthday: 6 masterpieces by the Polish director restored and featured at Timeless Film Festival Warsaw

Polish cinema is undeniably timeless, and there is still plenty to discover. Join us in celebrating our domestic cinematic gems with restored classics at Timeless FFW.

Woman in a Hat

During the inaugural edition of the festival, we commemorate the 100th birthday of Stanisław Różewicz: a Polish director renowned for his psychological realism and World War II dramas. Recent restorations of his finest works offer the opportunity to revisit this lesser-known co-founder of the Polish Film School. With incredible cinematography by Jerzy Wójcik (known for Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds) and stellar performances by some of Poland’s most outstanding actors, Różewicz’s intimate dramas are sophisticated, captivating, and deserve to be experienced on the big screen.

The retrospective will showcase two of the director’s wartime masterpieces: the acclaimed Birth Certificate (1961), a novella-like narrative depicting the fate of several child protagonists, and the chilling Westerplatte (1967), a widescreen reconstruction of the events of September 1, 1939. Both films are pillars of Polish cinema, even though Różewicz occupied a peripheral position within the mainstream and offered critical perspectives on the assumptions of the Polish Film School. Westerplatte, a modern example of almost journalistic cinema, openly questioned heroic, homeland myths. At Timeless, we aim to present viewers with a different perspective of Różewicz: a formalist, an expert on the human soul, a portraitist of women, a modernist experimenter, and a filmmaker equally at home in historical epics and contemporary narratives. Two more of Różewicz’s films from the 1960s included in the program are the rarely remembered Voice from Another World (1962) and Echo (1964): black-and-white, stunningly crafted portrayals of post-war existential crises, imbued with both despair and smoldering hope for a better future and a way out of the vicious circle of trauma. Both films feature a stellar cast of 1960s Polish stars, including Kazimierz Rudzki, Danuta Szaflarska, Wieńczysław Gliński, Barbara Horawianka, and Krystyna Feldman.

Voice from Another World

He cultivated cinema under the call of gray, specific, as if derailed, focused on what takes place somewhere in between. Fascinated by the ascetic cinema of Robert Bresson, he sought purity in cinema. He was pushed by a longing – as he admitted in an interview – for something that should be, but which was so scarce.

– Jakub Socha, in his book Żebrowski. The Hypnotist, described the uniqueness of Różewicz’s cinema

His fruitful collaboration with cinematographer Jerzy Wójcik, spanning several decades, yielded not only Westerplatte and Echo, but also two outstanding color films: Passion (1977) and Woman in a Hat (1984), the latter of which received the Golden Lions Award at the 10th Polish Film Festival in Gdańsk in 1985. Passion, ambitious in its production, boldly confronts the theme of a 19th-century patriotic uprising and potential revolution. Regarded as one of the most compelling Polish historical films, it presents a gripping acting duel between Piotr Garlicki and Zbigniew Zapasiewicz. Woman in a Hat, with a remarkable performance by Hanna Mikuć, is often hailed as the director’s masterpiece, offering a nuanced psychological portrait that blends realism with 1980s Warsaw, theater, and daydreams.

On the 100th anniversary of Stanislaw Różewicz’s birth, we are restoring the memory of the outstanding auteur of Polish cinema, whose minimalist and contemplative works seem even more modern today than upon their initial release.

All films have undergone digital reconstruction.

WFDiF (Documentary and Feature Film Studio) is a partner of the review.

The media partners of the retrospective are Immersja and Zapiski na bilecie.

partner of the retrospective

media partner

media partner