Sunday 24 June
ACMI Cinema 1
of Polish Animation #1: 23 June, 3.15pm
Polish animation holds a very special position in
the hearts of all fans of classic animation. Put simply, Polish
animation is superb. Any list of ‘best ever’ animators
is going to have a strong contingent from Poland embedded in it.
Indeed, animation has been created in Poland from the earliest days
of cinema with the examples dating back to pre-1920s. Poles were
also among the first to utilise animation for making commercials
with examples of those works to be found in
Animation historian Giannalberto Bendazzi describes
the themes of Polish as animation as a “sense of absurdity,
surrealism and anguished settings”. All true but to this could
also be added a love of complex, adult fairytales and a willingness
to take the best from western and eastern visual influences.
The names of the finest Polish animators stand high
on any list of master animators. Zofia Oraczewska, Jan Lenica, Jerzy
Kucia, Zbigniew Rybczynski, Piotr Dumala. Walerian Borowczyk and
Ladislaw Starewicz produced some of
the finest animated films ever screened.
Recently, the Pompidou Centre
in Paris curated an enormous collection of Polish Masters and these
two programs owe a great deal to that fine inspiration. We also
owe a very large “Thank You” to Marlena Lukasiak of
the Polish Cultural Institute in London and Helena Dametka of Filmoteka
Narodowa in Warsaw. This collection is but a glimpse of an incredible
community of animators creating a strong, robust, challenging, superb
body of truly original work – but what a glimpse.