Navigating the Polish Film Festival

From Polanski to animation, the film festival should have something for everyone … who is obsessed with film.


photo courtesy MGM

Roman Polanski Sharon Tate

Mark Brenden


Twin Cities Polish Film Festival

Where: St. Anthony Main Theater, 115 SE Main St., Minneapolis

When: August 12-18

Cost: $8.50 General Admission, $5 members, $6 students/seniors

When many Americans think Poland, they often canâÄôt help but think âÄúsausage.âÄù And while itâÄôs hard to blame their minds for immediately shifting to that sweet, sweet tube of ground meat, the Central European country has much more to offer us. For example âÄî as the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul will show us this weekend âÄî they have an awfully impressive film catalogue.

Polish film has a history as notable and sprawling as French and American. And the Polish Film Festival, which takes place in the gorgeous St. Anthony Main Theatre, boasts some of the choicest pieces of Polish film âÄî ranging from the likes of Roman Polanski to Jan Jakub Kolski.

To make it easier on you, A&E made a short list of the films we recommend seeing during the week.

âÄúThe Fearless Vampire KillersâÄù (1967)

Director: Roman Polanski

Showtime: Friday, August 12, and Thursday, August 18 at 7 p.m.

Born in Paris, but with full Polish blood, Roman Polanski is arguably the countryâÄôs most notorious director. âÄúThe Fearless Vampire KillersâÄù is the auteurâÄôs first color-photographed film. It fits under the comedy-horror genre, but provides more laughs than shrieks. Perhaps the most sinister element to the film is Sharon TateâÄôs involvement. After her brutal murder at the hands of the Manson family, thereâÄôs something eerie about watching a vampire stab his teeth in her neck.

âÄúFearlessâÄù is also the only film in the festival that wonâÄôt require you to read English subtitles or listen to a dub.

âÄúKomeda: A Soundtrack for a LifeâÄù

Director: Claudia Buthenhoff-Duffy

Showtime: Friday, Aug. 12 at 5 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 14  at 1 p.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 16 and Thursday, Aug. 18 at 9:15 p.m.

This is the perfect compliment to the Polanski films in the festival. âÄúKomeda: A Soundtrack for a LifeâÄù is a film essay on Krzysztof Komeda, a jazz pianist and composer best known for arranging the scores for PolanskiâÄôs âÄô60s films like âÄúRosemaryâÄôs Baby,âÄù âÄúCul-de-Sac,âÄù âÄúThe Fearless Vampire KillersâÄù and âÄúKnife in the Water.âÄù The latter two films are playing at the festival.

An accomplished jazz musician, Komeda aided in the creation of what is known as the Polish school of jazz in the âÄô50s and âÄô60s. He had a knack for transferring the emotions of film into music. The high-keyed creepiness in his lullaby for Roman PolanskiâÄôs âÄúRosemaryâÄôs BabyâÄù has become synonymous with that legendary, spine-chilling image of the baby carriage silhouette on the smoky, jagged rock.

Polish Animation

Director: Various

Showtime: Saturday, Aug. 13at 1 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 17 and Thursday, Aug 18 atat 4:30 p.m.

With a festival full of intellectual grinders, a harmless (advertised as âÄúfamily friendlyâÄù) collection of classic Polish animation could take a nice load off for the mind. But it wonâÄôt be a break from mental stimulation. Polish animation is widely considered some of the best and most influential in the genre.