The Bruce Willis of Poland

Working at Facets Multi-Media has introduced me to foreign films most movie-goers don’t even know exist—from Krik Krak, the long-forgotten experimental documentary from Haiti, to Yesterday Girl, Alexander Kluge’s debut feature that introduced the New German Cinema. My friend Lew from Rentals exposed me to Lady Terminator and the wonders of 1980s Indonesian horror, while Charles, our intrepid cinematheque programmer, started my year off with a good laugh via Four Lions, an English comedy about terrorism.

Among my favorite films released on the Facets DVD label are many from Poland, particularly those from the post-communist film industry. To many film scholars, Polish cinema means the work of Andrzej Wajda and the so-called “cinema of morality” of the 1970s or even the “Polish School” of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Directors like Wajda, Jerzy Hoffman, and Krzysztof Zanussi were renowned for the formal characteristics of their styles and for the subtexts of their films, which were often veiled criticisms of communism. Wajda and his peers attracted an arthouse crowd to their films and the devotion of educated audiences and intellectuals in Poland and around the world. But, Polish cinema to me brings to mind directors like Juliusz Machulski and stars like Boguslaw Linda. While I admire the work of the great directors of the communist era, who smartly weaved social commentary and criticism as subtexts in their narratives, I am amused by the often uneven but always entertaining movies of the post-communist era.

[...MORE]

The Madcap Mind of Juliusz Machulski

For aficionados of foreign film, great Polish cinema generally brings to mind such names as Wajda, Kieslowski, and Zanussi. Those are the directors who inspire retrospectives at film festivals and whose careers are studied in film schools. But, these type of directors no longer typify Polish cinema, which has managed to survive the many changes and struggles of the post-communist era with commercial fare often patterned after Hollywood genres.  The director considered the most commercially successful in all of Polish film history has dominated the Polish box office since the early 1980s, bridging the late communist era and the contemporary commercial industry. His name is Juliusz Machulski, and his string of oddball satires and genre flicks have such a madcap craziness about them that they are immediately recognizable as his.

box art

            The son of popular Polish actor Jan Machulski, Juliusz graduated from the famous film school in Lodz in 1978. In 1981, he made his first feature film, Vabank, a caper film in the spirit of Rififi or The Sting. Vabank starred Juliusz’s father, Jan, and it introduced the Polish audience to what would become the Machulski style—broad comedy, slick production values, a Polish twist on a familiar genre, a manic energy, and a preference for oddly imaginative production design.  

[...MORE]

MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D  Action Films  Actors  Actors' Endorsements  Actresses  animal stars  Animation  Anime  Anthology Films  Art in Movies  Australian CInema  Autobiography  Avant-Garde  Aviation  Awards  B-movies  Beer in Film  Behind the Scenes  Best of the Year lists  Biography  Biopics  Blu-Ray  Books on Film  Boxing films  British Cinema  Canadian Cinema  Character Actors  Chicago Film History  Cinematography  Classic Films  College Life on Film  Comedy  Comic Book Movies  Crime  Czech Film  Dance on Film  Digital Cinema  Directors  Disaster Films  Documentary  Drama  DVD  Early Talkies  Editing  Educational Films  European Influence on American Cinema  Experimental  Exploitation  Fairy Tales on Film  Faith or Christian-based Films  Family Films  Film Composers  Film Criticism  film festivals  Film History in Florida  Film Noir  Film Scholars  Film titles  Filmmaking Techniques  Films of the 1960s  Films of the 1980s  Food in Film  Foreign Film  French Film  Gangster films  Genre  Genre spoofs  HD & Blu-Ray  Holiday Movies  Hollywood history  Hollywood lifestyles  Horror  Horror Movies  Icons  independent film  Italian Film  Japanese Film  Korean Film  Literary Adaptations  Martial Arts  Melodramas  Method Acting  Mexican Cinema  Moguls  Monster Movies  Movie Books  Movie Costumes  movie flops  Movie locations  Movie lovers  Movie Reviewers  Movie settings  Movie Stars  Movie titles  Movies about movies  Music in Film  Musicals  Outdoor Cinema  Paranoid Thrillers  Parenting on film  Pirate movies  Polish film industry  political thrillers  Politics in Film  Pornography  Pre-Code  Producers  Race in American Film  Remakes  Revenge  Road Movies  Romance  Romantic Comedies  Satire  Scandals  Science Fiction  Screenwriters  Semi-documentaries  Serials  Short Films  Silent Film  silent films  Social Problem Film  Sports  Sports on Film  Stereotypes  Straight-to-DVD  Studio Politics  Stunts and stuntmen  Suspense thriller  Swashbucklers  TCM Classic Film Festival  TCM Underground  Television  The British in Hollywood  The Germans in Hollywood  The Hungarians in Hollywood  The Irish in Hollywood  Theaters  Thriller  Trains in movies  Underground Cinema  VOD  War film  Westerns  Women in the Film Industry  Women's Weepies