Most of us would see the “Revolution of 1989” as the great moment of change for contemporary Poland, yet in fact since that heralded moment Poland has never stopped changing. The nation had to adapt to a “European” identity; learn to deal with new, emerging centers of power, such as China, India, and once again Russia; and deal with a dizzying array of social movements from ecology to gay rights. Moreover, there was the question of the country’s past: how to understand it and explain it to new generations of Poles. Throughout this period, the Polish cinema—always an able chronicler of Polish life—has tried to keep up with this “New Poland.”
From September 9 to 15, the Film Society in collaboration with the Polish Film Institute in Warsaw and Polish Cultural Institute in New York will present “Transitions: Recent Polish Cinema,” a series of recent films that collectively offer a provocative look at Poland today. As a complement to this series we have scheduled two classic films starring the great Zbigniew Cybulski, shown in beautifully restored copies.