Mentioning Specials

in 43rd Krakow Film Festival

by Oliver Baumgarten

A bell was ringing before every screening in the festival cinema Kijów creating a rather nice school yard impression – perfectly fitting, by the way, to the huge number of students attending the festival. So you are standing in the foyer, having at least one cigarette before the following program, thinking of Edina Kontseks competition film “The Schoolboy”, which adds some remarkable statements to your own school memories: When smoking you ask yourself why you had never questioned whether the school bell is said to “bell” although it actually “rings”…

“School” was one of the quite often appearing topics in the different programs and sections of Cracow Film Festival. Besides the two large short film competitions those specials presented various other programmes. Concentrating mainly on documentaries, screenings like Lost in La Mancha from Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe taught us that a short film festival not necessarily has to fear back from full length films. The reason why Lost in La Mancha, the documentary of Terry Gilliam’s failure shooting Don Quixote, perfectly fitted Cracow is its interesting combination of documentary and its funny kind of story board animation, which in a nostalgic way bends on Gilliam’s former work for Monty Python.

Animation played the second important role in Cracow, where the “Dragon of Dragons” -special prize this year was awarded to the Brothers Quay. The work of the twins Stephen and Timothy Quay was shown in a retrospective. Especially their well-known puppet animation shorts still belong to the most fascinating films of their kind containing beautiful references to Man Ray in Street of Crocodiles for example. Both of them showed up for three days and offered all guests and participants various opportunities to talk about.

Besides a student’s film night, a music video program and a bloc of films which haven’t been selected for competition but though persuaded the organizers. Another special of this highly inspiring festival was dedicated to portraits: four one-hour-documentaries on the lives of Che Guevara, Charlie Chaplin, Bruno S. and Leni Riefenstahl (whose latest TV-underwater-fish-meditation impressions of the deep also ran: beautiful but meaningless with a nearly 100-years-old Leni flirting with fish).

And on the last day the godfather of Polish film Andrzej Wajda appeared for the closing ceremony. He who began a couple of years ago to personally take care of the Polish film youngsters. He who founded the Andrzej Wajda Masterfilm School and with that another step to promote the Polish film industry – with or without a bell which “bells” although it actually “rings”.