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The Radical Visions of Jerzy Skolimowski

Emerging as one of the most original voices of the Polish New Wave that took form during the Sixties, Jerzy Skolimowski (b. 1938) channeled his prodigious talents – as an actor, poet, writer, director, painter and art designer – into a series of visually intense and poetically structured films that capture the restless imagination of the postwar generation of filmmakers and filmgoers. In early works such as Rysopis, made while he was a student at the legendary Lodz film school, and Walkover, Skolimowski crafted iconic portraits of aimless youth and failed ambition that cut with a sharp satiric edge and garnered him international acclaim and invitations to direct abroad. Eventually choosing to leave Poland in 1967 after the draconian censorship of his politically outspoken Hands Up!, Skolimowski quickly established himself as a pioneering artist of the postwar European art cinema, creating such iconic films as The Shout and Deep End whose inventive approach to image and narrative are only just beginning to be fully appreciated. After abandoning cinema in the early 1990s, Skolimowski made an incredible, unexpected return to cinema and to full form with Four Nights With Anna, a meditative and wry study of loneliness and longing. Together with his latest and wildly daring film, Essential Killing, Skolimowski has reasserted himself as one of the very few still active and still innovative members of the heroic group of great transnational directors that includes Raúl Ruiz and fellow countryman Roman Polanski.

The HFA is thrilled to welcome Jerzy Skolimowski, together with his wife and screenwriting partner, Ewa Piaskowska, for a rare visit and opportunity to discuss his visionary work. – Haden Guest

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