30 July, 2009

Spotlight On Polish Cinema

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

This year’s crop of contenders in the New Polish Films competition at the ERA New Horizons International Film Festival continue the unbroken chain of film artists who are acknowledged as world-class masters of their craft. This year’s program is especially strong, with a forceful representation of emerging women talents. Malgorzala Szumowska brings a masterful directorial hand and an intellectual discipline to her latest film “33 Scenes From Life”, which won the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival. Katarzyna Rostaniec, a protégé of Andre Wajda, creates an eye-opening exploration of adolescent girls who trade their youthful sex appeal for money in “Mall Girls”. Kinga Debaska moves from documentary to fiction in her debut feature “Rebound”, about a psychiatrist with a secret heroin addiction.

Jerzy Skolimowski is one of the best known Polish directors in the West. Breaking 17 years of silence, he is back with “Four Nights Of Anna”, an enigmatic thriller about a crematorium worker who repeatedly breaks into a woman's house. Piotr Dumata has a cult following for his animated and experimental works. He premieres his drama/animation feature mix “The Forest” at this year’s Festival. Jan Jakub Kolski, often called the Polish Emir Kusturica, is receiving kudos for his newest project, “Happy Aphonya” , a multi-character study of the human condition. Jacek Blawut is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker who uses non-fiction technique to great effect in his feature debut “Before Twilight”. After winning awards for his short films, Michal Rosa stretches for his latest film “Scratch”, the story of a respectable husband and father whose family life is shattered when he is denounced for his past behavior during the communist period.

Debut or sophomore filmmakers in the section include: Maciej Pieprzyca, whose feature debut “Splinters” uses real stories as a touchstone for a contemplation of lives touched by sweetness and bitterness in equal measure. In “My Flesh, My Blood”, debut director Marcin Wrona spins a compelling story of a boxer who learns he has a brain tumor. The directorial team of Boleslaw Pawica and Jaroslaw Szoda’s debut film “Miracle Seller” is a poignant road movie centering on an alcoholic who encounters two young runaways. In “Unmoved Mover”, director Lukasz Barczyk draws on classic thriller technique to tell a story of modern day anxiety and the decline of moral values. Similar themes are struck in "Snow White and Russian Red", director Xawery Zulawski’s adaptation of a famed novel by Dorota Mastowska. Working in a range of film styles, Polish directors, both veteran and debut, bring a unique vision to their film meditations.

29 July, 2009

The Polish-Swedish Co-Production Dance

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

The Polish-Swedish Film Meetings introduced a number of exciting new projects from both Polish and Swedish producers. In networking meetings with producers, sales agents and financiers, these projects in development will undoubtedly profit from the atmosphere of cooperation that has been initiated between the Era New Horizons International Film Festival and the Swedish Film Institute.

“Callgirl“ is a drama being developed by Swedish producer Mimmi Spång of Stockholm-based Garage Film (email: The film tells the story of two underage girls who slept with top politicians, which threatened the country’s political elite. The film is budgeted at nearly 3 Million Euros, with the Swedish Film Institute, MEDIA and the Nordic Film and TV Fund attached as partners. Spång was in Wroclaw looking to find a Polish co-producer, arrange a pre-sales agreement with a Polish distributor and to scout possible locations for shooting in Wroclaw.

“Super Max” is a youth comedy/drama from director Andreas Tibblin about Max, a troubled teenager working in a comic book store who becomes obsessed with superheroes. The film is being produced by Magnus Åkerstedt of Drama Svecia ( on a proposed budget of 1.5 Million Euros, of which nearly one-third is already in place via partners The Chimney Pot and Dagsljus, with Svensk Filmindustri on board for distribution.

“Four More Years” is a satirical comedy from actress-turned-director Tova Magnusson-Norling and producer Martin Persson of Anagram Produktion ( The film tells is about a liberal politician whose life transforms when he loses an election and falls in love with a man who works for the opposition. Budgeted at 1.75 Million Euros, of which nearly 75% is already in place with monies from the Swedish Film Insitute, Helsinki Film, Film i Väst and Sandrew Metronome, Persson is looking for a Polish co-producer and to scout locations in Wroclaw.

“The Story of the Warsaw Connection” is a historical drama being produced by Peter Kropénin of HobAB ( with a budget of 4.5 Million Euros. The film recreates the true story of Swedish business men who smuggled necessities and information in Poland during the German occupation. The producer is seeking a Polish co-producer to help develop the project and access Polish subsidy monies and location support.

“Fear of Heights” by director Bartek Konopka and producers Dariusz Gajewski and Ewa Jastrzebska of Studio Munka ( is a psychological drama about a television reporter whose life is changed when he re-engages with his estranged father. There is a completed script with a proposed budget of nearly 4 Million Zlotys, of which half is guaranteed. The producers are looking to find a Swedish co-producer who can invest 250,000 Euros.

“The Stag Party” is a road movie about a group of Swedish twenty-somethings who arrange a stag party for their friend and get stranded in Poland when their car is stolen. The film has director Slawomir Pstrong attached, with producer Aleksandra Kulakowska of On Production ( on the look out for Swedish co-producers and sales agents.

“The Terrorist” is an investigative documentary about a journalist’s search for Shamil Basayev, the notoriously elusive Chechen rebel. The film is to be directed by the team of Marcin Mamon and Mariusz Pilis with Krzysztof Kopczynski of Eureka Media ( serving as producer. The film is budgeted at nearly 250,000 Euros with development financing already in place via Media Plus, the Polish Film Institute, German=based Licht Film, LRT Lithuania and Cat3 Spain.

“Raiders: the Raven and the Cross” is a period action adventure film being developed by director Cezary Iberl and producer Slawomir Ciok of Icebreaker Films ( Set in Poland in the year 1020 AD, the action begins when two Viking brothers lead a small group of renegade warriors to rob a wealthy merchant. The production is budgeted at 10 Million Euros, of which 1 Million Euros is in place via partners Trzyglów (PL), Jomsviking Productions (USA), the Polish Film Institute and the City of Szczecin. The producers are seeking financial and artistic contributions from Swedish producers with access to subsidy and private funding.

28 July, 2009

The Swedish Invasion of Poland

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

First, a little history……..In the 17th century, Sweden waged a series of invasions against Poland which included a five year occupation known in Polish as Potop Szwedzki, "the Swedish Deluge”. The Poles successfully drove back the Swedish invaders in 1656 and celebrate with a holiday to commemorate their victory. Well, the Swedish are back, albeit under more friendly circumstances, for the latest Swedish invasion of Poland….of a more cinematic nature. Let’s be clear…..this time the Swedes were officially invited. And the Poles have welcomed the blond invaders with open arms

In an initiative created between the Era New Horizons International Film Festival and the Swedish Film Institute, a diverse program of Swedish film, photography, lectures and music programs is being presented. In all, over 70 Swedish films, ranging from classics to contemporary titles, will be shown in Wroclaw this week. Kino Szwecji: Cinema of Sweden has been one of the Festival highlights, exposing new Swedish film talents to enthusiastic Polish audiences. An added bonus is the program devoted to legendary director Jan Troell, who continues his amazing career of over five decades with astonishing new work. And no Swedish program would be complete without a nod to the film master Ingmar Bergman. The Festival is screening four short documentaries that offer a rare behind-the-scenes look of Bergman in action, including the premiere of “Images From The Playground” by Swedish film critic and director Stig Bjorkman, as well as a photo exhibition by Bengt Wanselius in the Market Square.

However, the main activities of this new alliance are definitely focused on the future. Today concludes the three-day Polish-Swedish Film Meetings conference, which has brought together Swedish producers and sales agents to meet with their Polish counterparts and selected students from the Göteborg School of Film Directing and the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing. The industry gathering is the first such initiative for the Festival, with the aim of building links between film professionals, facilitating co-productions and encouraging distribution of Polish films in Sweden and Swedish films in Poland. Aside from key information panels, the bulk of the conference has been devoted to networking sessions between industry professionals. Special industry-only screenings of Swedish films (both in and out of the Festival program) have been specially arranged for Polish buyers at the Multikino Cinema.

"When we asked the Swedish sales agents who handle films internationally which territories they wanted us to concentrate our efforts on, Poland was high on the list", according to Petter Mattsson of the Swedish Film Institute, who along with his colleagues Andrea Reuter and Jan Goransson, helped organized the Swedish presence in Wroclaw. "We approached Roman Gutek and Joanna Lapinska of the Era New Horizons IFF in Cannes in 2008 and they were very enthusiastic to work with us. We were the ones who suggested that we not only show films in the Festival program, but organize industry meetings and a modest co-production conference so that Swedish and Polish producers and sales agents could get to know one another." The event seemed to have a strong start, based on the comments heard from participating producers, who said they had a number of very fruitful meetings here for their projects.

The Swedish-Polish cooperation climaxed this evening with a “wrap party” at the Arsenal Club, which featured crayfish (a Swedish delicacy) and good old fashioned Polish vodka. Much merriment and impromptu singing in both languages was had, with partiers reveling into the evening when the club hosted two Swedish electronica musicians making their Polish debuts.

27 July, 2009

New Swedish Cinema At Era New Horizons IFF

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

The ERA New Horizons International Film Festival, taking place this week in Wroclaw, Poland is shining the spotlight on contemporary Swedish cinema in the program Kino Szwecji: Cinema of Sweden, which is introducing Polish audiences to a new generation of film talents.

Darling is a survey of the empty consumerist lives of a group of young women in contemporary Stockholm, that won the Nordic Film Prize at the Goteborg Film Festival for its writer/director/cinematographer Johan King. In “Fishy”, director Maria Blom, one such Stockholm go-getter temporarily moves to a sleepy fishing village, and unexpectedly finds the true meaning of life and love. Guidance by writer/director Johan Jonason is the complex story of two men who are locked in a deadly dance of emotional and psychological violence. In Heaven’s Heart by Simon Staho, more traditional marriage is skewered in a story of two couples whose relationships unravel.

Swedish films have been big winners at international film events. Involuntary”, the feature debut of Ruben Östlund which uses a static camera to record the lives of several Stockholm types, won the Critics Prize at the Miami Film Festival and the Golden Iris at the Brussels European Film Festival. The coming-of-age film King of Ping Pong by Jens Jonsson has won top prizes at the Athens, Chicago, Montreal and Sundance film festivals. Let The Right One In”, a modish take on the vampire myth, has been a major international hit, winning the Best Film honor at the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as critics and festival prizes around the world.

Portraits, both fictional and documentary, make up the remainder of the program. In the documentary Mr. Governor, Måns Månsson draws a portrait of a veteran politician whose private life does not always match his public persona. In the “The Girl”, director Fredrik Edfeldt offers a picture of a young girl abandoned by her parents. A clever international criminal is the subject of directors Åsa Blanck and Johan Palmgren’s “The Swindler”. “Long Distance Love” by the team of Magnus Gertten and Elin Jönsson comments on globalization in an acerbic story of a couple separated by economic circumstances. The Festival will also screen two series of Swedish short films, pointing to emerging directors who will continue the chain of Swedish cinema excellence.

25 July, 2009

Screaming In Silence: Guy Maddin

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

My usual "beat" for this blog is the story of European films in the North American market. For the next 9 days, while I take up residence in Wroclaw, Poland for the ERA New Horizons International Film Festival, I will report on both North American and European talents here.

The Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin is the subject of a Festival Retrospective here. His magnum opus BRAIN UPON THE BRAIN was presented last evening at the Wroclaw Opera House, with a chamber orchestra, foley sound artists, individual vocalists and a narrator. The Festival is presenting a nearly all inclusive retrospective of Maddin’s feature film, shorts and television work, giving full dimension to a singular artist.

Living and working in his beloved Winnipeg, an industrial city in the Canadian heartland, Maddin is an artisan who works in a very specific style that gives him a unique signature. Always fascinated by movies, in 1985, he made his first film, THE DEATH FATHER, a surrealist black-and-white16mm short influenced by early silent cinema, particularly the groundbreaking cinema of Russian montage genius Sergei Eistenstein and his contemporaries.

Maddin continued to mine this terrain in his first feature TALES FROM THE GIMLI HOSPITAL (1988), a virtually silent and almost plotless hallucinatory tale of smallpox and necrophilia that made his reputation. His follow up film ARCHANGEL (1990) was, if anything, even stranger......a part-talkie influenced by Luis Buñuel’s L’AGE D’OR, that included inter-titles, mime, dialogue and voice-over. CAREFUL (1992), his first project in color, tells the darkly comic tale of lust, incest and repression in and around a butler school in the Swiss Alps.

After a disasterous fliration with Hollywood with the film TWILIGHT OF THE NYMPHS (1997), Maddin has moved between making short films to experimental pastiches of film, music, opera and fine art, including the stunning short film THE HEART OF THE WORLD (2000) and the autobiographical essay MY WINNIPEG (2007) won the Best Canadian Feature prize at the Toronto Film Festival.

BRAND UPON THE BRAIN is closer to a live theatrical event -- a feature-length motion picture screened with the accompaniment of a live orchestra, Foley artists, sound effects technicians and assorted vocalists. Together, they provide the elaborate soundscape for a typically frenetic amalgam of the autobiographical, Freudian and willfully absurd. Maddin, who looks both longingly into the past for inspiration and into the future for illumination, is indeed an artist who is one of a kind.

21 July, 2009

Ulrich Seidl At New York's Anthology Film Archives

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

Not nearly as well known as his countryman Michael Haneke, the Austrian film director Ulrich Seidl has his own individual signature as a chronicler of human truth. His films are, in turns, disturbing and paradoxical, difficult and dispassionate and not easy to classify. Mixing documentary realism with a kind of poetic neo-realism, the director mainly uses non-professional actors to give his film essays an essential core of truth.

Seidl will receive his first ever retrospective in the United States with a program this week at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City, a funky cinematheque with a decidedly funky "downtown" vibe. The series includes highlights from the director's career and culminates with a weeklong run of IMPORT/EXPORT, Seidl's most recent film that screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Program highlights include the documentaries ANIMAL LOVE, LOSSES ARE TO BE EXPECTED and MODELS, gritty non-fiction observations that established Seidl's reputation as an unsentimental observer of human oddity and misery. In his first fiction film DOG DAYS, the director takes these interests further, turning ordinary existence into a comic nightmare, often raising ethical questions of conduct and acceptance. A love-it-or-hate-it film for critics and audiences, it raises uncomfortable questions about the filmmaker's motivations. Is he motivated by compassion or contempt? Does it ridicule the eccentricities of the non-professional actors or does it indict the audience for its prurient interest in these marginal types. The answers aren't easy, but the debate is lively.
For more information, visit the website:

15 July, 2009

European And Asian Films Dominate New Horizons Competition

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

The heart of the 9th edition of the ERA NEW HORIZONS International Film Festival, which begins its 12 day marathon of film premieres, special events and music concerts on July 23, is the NEW HORIZONS International Competition. This year’s program includes a selection of 14 premieres of a truly international roster of filmmakers, covering a mix of genres and styles to offer a survey of the best in international cinema. This year‘s selection is particularly strong on European and Asian titles.

France has three films vying for prizes. In A LAKE (Un Lac) by director Phillipe Grandrieux, a family’s insular existence in the snowy forests of an unknown country is disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious stranger. The film was a co-winner of the New Horizons Award at the Venice Film Festival. FACE (Visage), director Tsai Ming-Liang’s semi-autobiographical story of a famed Taiwanese film director who travels to the Louvre in Paris to shoot his newest film, had its world premiere at this year‘s Cannes Film Festival. IRENE, director Alain Cavalier’s creative documentary of the life, career and untimely death of actress Irene Trunc, is another Cannes veteran.

The UK is represented by two celebrated films in this year’s Competition. HELEN is a riveting policier about the death of a teenage girl which won top honors at the Angers European First Film Festival for its co-directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor and for its lead actress Annie Townsend. HUNGER, the celebrated debut film of video artist Steve McQueen of the final weeks of Irish revolutionary Bobby Sands’ prison hunger strike, has been hailed as one of the most compelling and important films of the year.

Other European films going for the gold include: NE CHANGE RIEN, Portugese director Pedro Costa’s highly visual film that was a hit at this year’s Cannes Directors Fortnight; OXYGEN (Kislorod), a dramatic musical from Russia that won the Critics Prize at the Sochi Open Russian Film Festival for its director Iwan Wyrypajew; BURROWING (Man tänker sitt), Swedish co-directors Henrik Hellström and Fredrik Wenzel’s coming of age drama that was a sleeper hit at the Berlin Film Festival; and DAZZLE (Oogverblindend), a relationship drama from the Netherlands, that marks the return of legendary actor Rutger Hauer to Dutch cinema, written and directed by Cyrus Frisch.

Asian cinema is strong in this year’s Competition. The winner already for most imaginative film title, $e11.ou7! – SELL OUT won the Alternative Vision Award at the Venice Film Festival for imaginative Malaysian director Yeo Joon Ha. EXHAUSTED is the porn-and-violence-tinged debut film from South Korean director Kim Gok. Japan is represented by SPYDER, director Ishibashi Kiyomi’s study of big city alienation as experienced by a young woman, which was shot entirely on a cel phone. Representing the Chinese New Wave is TWILIGHT DANCING, a multi-character study of the human condition as experienced by survivors of a devastating series of car crashes, co-directed by the team of Tian Gao and Joshua Tong.

The sole North American entry in the Competition is MOCK UP ON MU, an innovative compilation film drawn from sci-fi B movies of the 1950 and 1960s, from the artist and avant-garde filmmaker Craig Baldwin.

Information on the Festival’s other competition sections, including FILMS ON ART and NEW POLISH CINEMA will be elaborated in a future posting. For more information on the full roster of events planned for the 9th edition of the ERA NEW HORIZONS International Film Festival, please visit the website:

13 July, 2009

Cannes Palme d'Or Winner To Open ERA New Horizons International Film Festival

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

Although my "beat" for CINEUROPA is to report on European films in the North American market, I have the distinct pleasure of working this year with the ERA NEW HORIZONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in Poland, which begins next week an ambitious two week program of film premieres, special hommages and a kaleidoscope of visual and music events. So, as a bit of a departure from my usual reportage, I will be bringing information on the excitement that will take place in Wroclaw, Poland starting Thursday, 23 July. The Festival is showcasing many important European films and also is honoring several recognized European auteurs.

THE WHITE RIBBON, the celebrated Austrian film by auteur Michael Haneke, which recently won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, will open the 9th edition of the ERA NEW HORIZONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, to be held in the city of Wroclaw, Poland from 23 July to 2 August. The film, which also won the prestigious FIPRESCI International Critics Prize in Cannes, is set in a small town in northern Germany just before World War I, and refers to the origins of the totalitarian systems that would soon engulf Europe a decade later. The film will be making its Eastern European Premiere at the Festival.

The ERA NEW HORIZONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL is fast becoming one of the most intriguing film events on the film festival circuit, with a mission of presenting original works which reach beyond the borders of conventional cinema. The Festival’s goal is to present uncompromising, creative and extraordinary films from all over the world, made by artists who search for a new film language and original forms, who address issues missing from mainstream cinema.
The Festival is the largest in Poland, attracting nearly 130,000 spectators last year. For its ninth edition this year, the Festival will present over 500 films from 45 countries, including 250 feature titles. Most will be Eastern European or Polish premieres, bringing over 600 screenings to Festival audiences and visiting industry guests. In addition to the Opening Night Gala screening of THE WHITE RIBBON on 23 July, the Festival will also present the premiere of the new Thai film NYMPH (Nang mai), which screened to great acclaim at this year’s Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival.

The film, which is making its Eastern European Premiere at the Festival, is the latest masterwork from Pen-ek Ratanaruang, one of the leading representatives of the new wave in Thai cinema. A ghost story in the great tradition of Edgar Allan Poe, the film tells the fantasy tale of an urban husband and wife who travel to the jungle and learn just how precious their relationship is. The film will receive its North American Premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Over 11 days, the Festival will host nearly 500 international guests, including prestigious directors, producers, writers and film critics. Films in competition, country focuses, director retrospectives and an industry co-production market will highlight the Festival’s ambitious platform (more on these in upcoming press releases). Establishing itself as a “film festival for the 21st century”, the ERA NEW HORIZONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL is becoming a key stop on the international film festival circuit for film lovers and industry executives. For more information on this year’s program, visit the official Festival website:

More warblings from Wroclaw in future blog posts.....stay tuned.

10 July, 2009

The Anti-Blockbuster: European Films On American Screens

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

Summer is the traditional time at movie multiplexes for blockbuster films from the Hollywood studios that tend to focus more on explosions and special effects than effective storylines. While there is no denying the box office clout of such films as TRANSFORMERS, TERMINATOR SALVATION and WOLVERINE, there are some less deafening art films that are also being released on American screens. Call it counter-programming, a strategy of offering a breather from the summer staples, that is proving to be an effective marketing ploy. Films that appeal to adults and to sophisticated tastes in the heart of summer.....who knew?

This week alone two French films have opened to rapturous reviews. THE BEACHES OF AGNES, an impressionistic documentary essay film by Nouvelle Vague favorite Agnes Varda, has captured the imagination of the arthouse crowd and is proving to be a summer sleeper hit.

THE GIRL FROM MONACO, a splashy romancier by Anne Fontaine, provides the requisite helping of sex, seduction and romantic settings that appeal to the Francophile crowd.

These two new entries come on the heels of several other French films that have remained remarkably popular in the light of so much Hollywood competition. One of the big hits of the summer season has been the film SUMMER HOURS by Olivier Assayas. The film opened back in May and continues a remarkable run that has yielded almost $2 million at the American box office. SERAPHINE, the celebrated biopic of outsider artist Seraphine Louis directed by Martin Provost, has also been a strong contender this season, as it expands its run outside of the traditional centers of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago to become a modest but well esteemed arthouse hit.

Other European titles filling the void include CHERI, the Stephen Frears-Christopher Hampton adaptation of twin novels by French writer Colette that explores the fevered relationship between an aging courtesan (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her immature younger lover (Rupert Friend) in fin-de-siecle Paris; DEAD SNOW, a Norwegian horror satire by Tommy Wirkola populated by Nazi zombies (!!!) who terrorize a small town; LAILA'S BIRTHDAY, a Dutch/Palestine co-production by director Rashid Masharawi about the strange and disorienting everyday life for Palestinians in the Israel-occupied West Bank; MOON, a sci-fi meditation on loneliness and futuristic alienation by UK director Duncan Jones; and QUIET CHAOS, a slice-of-life Italian drama starring Nanni Moretti and directed by Antonello Grimaldi.

Add to this the retrospective of the existential films of Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky at New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center (and scheduled to do a national tour) and one finds that amdist the cyborgs and superheros, that summer movie-going (of a more discriminate palette) has its own pleasures.

06 July, 2009

Andrei Tarkovsky In The New York Spotlight

by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor

There are few filmmakers more controversial or more "difficult" for mainstream audiences to appreciate than the Russian existential master Andrei Tarkovsky. His films are indeed an acquired taste, but for those willing to take the complex cinematic journeys, there are many rewards to be had. A Tarkovsky fan is indeed a Tarkovsky fanatic, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York provides both devoted fans and those new to this important oeuvre a rare opportunity to sample the master's handiwork.

No less a film giant than Ingmar Bergman praised his Russian counterpart as a "master who invented a new film language." First and foremost a visual artist, Tarkovsky invested a mystery and melancholy in his films that shone a light on the human condition and the aspiration for belief in something greater than ourselves. The Film Society of Lincoln Center brings back the complete oeuvre of this astonishing artist in REVISITING TARKOVSKY, an eight film series beginning on Tuesday, 7 July.

Showcasing all seven of the auteur's landmark films, the series will also premiere Dmitry Trakovsky's provocative new documentary, MEETING ANDREI TARKOVSKY, featuring rare interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. The series opens with the director's 1962 debut IVAN'S CHILDHOOD, a coming of age story which earned the 30 year-old director the coveted Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

The series also features the director's best-known film, SOLARIS (1972), a sci-fi classic based on a novel by the great Polish writer Stanislaw Lem. Considered a spiritual cousin to Stanley Kubrick's landmark 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, the film uses space bound scientist Chris Kelvin (Donatas Banionis) as a medium for viewers to meditate on the ideas of perception, relationships and love. The film was later remade by Tarkovsky fan Steven Soderbergh in 2002, with George Clooney as the existential astronaut.

One of Tarkovsky's most controversial films was produced two years later. THE MIRROR (1974) is a loosely autobiographical and experimental film based on his father's poetic writings. Taking close to ten years to come to fruition, and banned by the Soviet film ministry on the eve of its Cannes Premiere, Tarkovsky's masterwork has developed a cult reputation among cinephiles.

The series also features rare screenings of ANDREI RUBLEV (1966), a sprawling tableau of the Russian icon painter that was mangled upon its initial release and later screened in a restored 205-minute cut; STALKER (1979), a sci-fi twinged thriller about a town that has been unalterably changed by a cosmic event; NOSTALGHIA (1983), a meditation on human relationships starring one of Russia's most famous actors, Oleg Yankovsky, opposite the Swedish actor Erland Josephson; and Tarkovsky's final film THE SACRIFICE (1986), a cri de coeur against nuclear proliferation that embodied the director's fears for the future and belief in the essential goodness of mankind.

For more information, visit the website of the Film Society of Lincoln Center: