Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Behind the Curtain Festival

1-29 November 2014, Venues across Birmingham

Polish Expats Association (PEA) announce the launch of the inaugural Behind the Curtain, a new Central and Eastern European film and new media festival in Birmingham. The event will take place during November at Ikon Gallery, The Giant Screen at Millennium Point, mac birmingham and PEA’s new gallery space in Digbeth, Centrala.

Behind the Curtain aims to engage people with the wealth of cinematography from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as bringing the diverse multi-cultural communities across the city together. For those from Central and Eastern Europe, the festival hopes to create a platform to maintain and celebrate cultural identity, and feel part of Birmingham and the West Midlands’ cultural life.

Films featured originate from Poland, Slovenia, Romania and Hungary as well as the former states of the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.

Festival highlights include screenings of two sci-fi masterpieces - Andrei Tarkovsky’s visionary 1972 film Solaris, and Ikarie XB 1, a film that heavily influenced Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Other highlights include In the name of (W imię...), a controversial Polish drama about a gay Roman Catholic priest struggling with his secret love for a troubled youth. Once banned, and now hailed classic drama - Blind Chance (Przypadek) and the Hungarian box office smash hit black comedy Kontroll, set in and starring the Budapest subway system as well as a cast of misfits and outcasts.

The programme will also feature surreal animated shorts from Jan Švankmajer as well as ‘Now and Then’, a showcase of three generations of acclaimed contemporary Polish video artists, an exhibition of beautifully designed Polish film posters, photography and screen acting workshops, Balkan music night and film discussions.

The full programme and tickets are available at: http://behindthecurtain.eu

Festival Listings:

Behind the Curtain – Opening Night Celebrations                                                                     7pm, Saturday 1 November 2014                                                                                 £4 Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.                                    Music, performance and live art from Polish artist collective Suka Off, Birmingham-based Polish artist Jacek Ceglarz, and singer songwriter Joseph Ladlow.             

Ikarie XB 1

5pm, Sunday 2 November 2014.

£6 Standard / £8.40 Premium. The Giant Screen at Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham.

Dir: Jindřich Polák (Czechoslovakia) 1963

An influence on Star Trek and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ikarie XB 1 is one of the cornerstones of contemporary sci-fi cinema. During a mission in search of alien life, a crew confronts the effects of a malignant dark star, the destructive legacy of the 20th century and, ultimately, the limits of their own sanity.



7.30pm, Sunday 2 November 2014.

£6 Standard / £8.40 Premium. The Giant Screen at Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham.

Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky (USSR) 1972

The visionary 1972 sci-fi masterpiece and winner of the Grand Prix Spécial du Jury at Cannes Film Festival. Widowed psychologist Kris Kelvin is sent to a space station orbiting a planet called Solaris to investigate the mysterious death of a doctor, as well as the mental problems plaguing the dwindling number of cosmonauts on the station. It quickly becomes apparent that Solaris possesses something that brings out repressed memories and obsessions, leaving Kelvin to question his perception of reality.


Blind Chance (Przypadek)

7.30 pm, Friday 14 November 2014.

£4. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.

Dir: Krzysztof Kieslowski (Poland) 1987

Like many of Kieslowski's films, Blind Chance (made in 1982) was banned by the government and was not permitted a public showing until 1987. Boguslaw Linda plays a middle-aged man at a crossroads of his life; whatever choice he makes for his future has the potential of ending in disaster. A sudden accident forces him to make a decision.


Spare Parts (Rezervni deli)                                                                                              8.30pm, Saturday 1 November 2014.

£7.50/£5.50. mac birmingham

Dir: Damjan Kozole (Slovenia) 2003

Embittered widower, Ludvik, spends his nights transporting illegal refugees in his van from Croatia, across Slovenia, and into Italy. The young and inexperienced Rudi acts as his helpmate. Together they become a well-trained duo who almost every night convey ‘spare parts’ to Italy. Everyone is looking for happiness, a better life: the ‘spare parts’ because of the misery of their existence as illegal immigrants and Ludvik and Rudi, who transport these hopefuls. Are they really so different after all?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj-uscdN6CU
Understanding the language of film, in the context of Central and Eastern European cinema

6pm, Sunday 9 November 2014

£4. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.

Filmmaker and critic Evie Branka will discuss cinema of the 'other' Europe.  The discussion tackles European cinema, how it is still mostly synonymous with Western European film and how the cinema of Eastern Europe is still largely excluded and under-explored. Branka reveals how film is a language that can be learnt and explains the key principles of understanding and interpreting films

1208 East of Bucharest (A fost sau n-a fost?)                                                         7pm, Sunday 9 November 2014                                                                                   £4. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.                                        Dir: Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania) 2006                                                                   In this satirical comedy, sixteen years have passed since the Romanian revolution. Piscoci, an old retired man is preparing for another Christmas alone. Manescu, a history teacher, tries to keep up with his debts. Jderescu, the owner of a local television post, along with Manescu and Piscoci, tries to answer a question which for 16 years has not had an answer: "Was it or wasn't it a revolution in their town?"                                                                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ7MfFB14xo

In the name of (W imię...)

8.30pm, Thursday 13 November 2014.

£4. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.

Dir: Małgorzata Szumowska (Poland) 2013

A moving tale of compassion, sexual longing, childhood trauma, and religious commitment. Starring Andrzej Chyra, it is a gripping and controversial look at homosexuality in the church, steeped in religious symbolism resonating with current issues in today's society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmgD42ZHiP8

Do you remember Dolly Bell (Sjecas Li Se, Dolly Bell)                                          6.30pm, Saturday 15 November 2014.                                                                            £4. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham                                              Dir: Emir Kusturica (Yugoslavia) 1986

When the government begins relaxing its hold on individual rights, many citizens don't quite know how to handle their sudden freedom. Set in the 1960s, the film concentrates on the effect an onslaught of Western culture (movies, music, clothing, creature comforts) has on a previously "sheltered" group of young Slavs.

Closely Observed Trains (Ostre sledované vlaky)

7pm, Sunday 23 November 2014.

£4. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.

At a village railway station in occupied Czechoslovakia, a bumbling dispatcher’s apprentice longs to liberate himself from his virginity. Oblivious to the war and the resistance that surrounds him, the young man embarks on a journey of sexual awakening and self-discovery, encountering a universe of frustration, eroticism, and adventure within his sleepy backwater depot. Wry and tender, Academy Award™-winning Closely Observed Trains is a masterpiece of human observation and one of the best-loved films of the Czech New Wave.

Kontroll                                                                                                                    7pm, Friday 28 November 2014.

£4. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.

Dir: Nimród Antal (Hungary) 2003                                                                                  A Hungarian box office hit, set in and starring the subway system of Budapest, one of the largest and oldest in the world. A black comedy in which ticket inspector Bulcsú (actor Sándor Csányi), interacts with a cast of unseemly creatures of the night (and day) including a cute girl in a teddy bear suit, a rival gang of ticket inspectors who like to play a deadly game of chicken with express trains, and a hooded specter who may or may not be pushing people under subway wheels at crowded stops. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o61vH1JSQE

Švankmajer Shorts                                                                                                      6.30-8.30pm, Wednesday 26 November 2014.                                                        £4. Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham. B1 2HS.                                                                                                                              Dir: Jan Švankmajer (Czechslovakia) 1962-92                                                                    A selection of short films by the legendary Czech Surrealist filmmaker-animator. Technically and conceptually astonishing in their own right, these films are also as remarkable for their philosophical consistency as for their frequently mind-boggling imagery. Jan Švankmajer has greatly influenced other artists such as Terry Gilliam, the Brothers Quay, and many others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL-w2BhVEn8

Throughout the festival

Now and Then: Three realities, three generations of Polish video art

1 – 29 November 2014. Opening Times: 12-6pm Monday- Friday, 1-6pm Saturdays.

Free. Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham.

A showcase of three generations of Polish video art. The show features works by some of the most acclaimed contemporary Polish artists: Józef Robakowski, Maciej Toporowicz and Anna Molska. All began their artistic careers in different historical moments. Their films are records of socio-political changes taking place in Poland in the last fifty years.

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