Long established as one of Polish cinema’s supreme masterpieces, Wajda’s film vividly captures the turbulence and confusion immediately following the Second World War, as a former resistance hero turns anti-Communist assassin. Audiences were supposed to empathise with his intended victim, but Zbigniew Cybulski (dubbed the ‘Polish James Dean’) gave such a charismatic performance as the conflicted killer it seemed to crystallise the fears and uncertainties of a generation.

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Jerzy Kawalerowicz spent decades trying to realise his most personal project, a tale of anti-Semitic persecution during the First World War that allowed him to suggest, without tackling the Holocaust directly, that the culturally-engendered pacifism and passivity of Poland’s Jews sowed the seeds of their later destruction. This was – to put it mildly – a controversial notion, but Kawalerowicz’s sympathy and sincerity is evident throughout.

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Banned for years for getting too close to the political knuckle, Kieslowski’s three-part narrative hinges on whether medical student Witek (Boguslaw Linda) catches a train, and on what happens afterwards. Will he be recruited by the government, become a political protester, or continue studying in neutral isolation? And can he control these outcomes, or is his life dictated by fate? This newly-restored version of ‘Blind Chance’ contains scenes which have never previously been screened in public.

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A linguistics competition at a university’s summer camp is the backdrop for a wittily satirical drama about the elusiveness of language. An idealistic teacher, Jaroslaw (Piotr Garlicki), and his more manipulative older colleague, Jakub (Zbigniew Zapasiewicz), assess not only each entry’s intrinsic merit, but also whether it ticks sufficient official boxes to be prizeworthy – an experience with which Polish filmmakers were all too ruefully familiar.

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