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NANDINI D. TRIPATHY
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FESTIVAL The ongoing Kinoteka Polish Film Festival brings together classic and contemporary Polish cinema

A still from “A Little Poland In India”
A still from “A Little Poland In India”

‘Kinoteka’, Polish for a collection of films, seems a perfectly apt title for a film festival that showcases an array of Polish cinematic expression, with films dating back from the ’70s to present day cutting-edge contemporary work. The first edition of the Polish Institute’s Kinoteka Polish Film Festival opened with an air of quiet sophistication recently at India Habitat Centre, with the screening of A Little Poland in India , a documentary co-directed by Anu Radha and Sumit Osmand Shaw.

Prof. Piotr Klodkowski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to India, who was present at the launch, was of the opinion that this film is not only about a particularly sensitive phase of Polish history, but is an interpretation of a larger human attitude rarely seen in today’s world. A product of the audio-visual agreement recently signed between the two governments, the Indo-Polish co-production recounts the true story of Maharaja Jam Saheb Digvijaysinhji Ranjitsinhji Jadeja of Nawanagar, Gujarat who gave shelter, food and a home to Polish refugee children during the Second World War. Told through the eyes of five surviving children, now aged, the film is a compelling emotional journey taking the viewer back in time through spoken recollections as well as read-out memoirs.

Talking about the experience of making the film, co-director Anu Radha observed that in sharing their experiences, each of the survivors went through a healing process. “Even I have come to a greater sense of gratitude for everything I have in life, after hearing the narratives of theirs,” she said.

Anna Tryc Bromley, Director of Polish Institute, pointed out that the A Little Poland in India is a great example of what the film festival aims to do in a larger sense: to bring together old and new, and make of it something creative that has not been done before. The festival will go on to feature digitally re-mastered Polish classics by greats such as Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda, as also the work of a newer, younger generation of Polish film-makers like Piotr Trzaskalski. “We are also hoping to have space for some kind of a creative dialogue with people who are film buffs or have knowledge of films, to give us more ideas to develop our concept for the years to come,” she added.

(The Kinoteka Polish Film Festival is on at India Habitat Centre, and will conclude on December 3.)

NANDINI D. TRIPATHY

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