wednesday 23 april
THE MILL AND THE CROSS
(dir Lech Majewski, Poland/Sweden, 2011, 92 min, in English, Polish & Spanish w/English subtitles)
Starring Rutger Hauer, Charlotte Rampling and Michael York, the film is inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Procession to Calvary,” focusing on a dozen of the 500 characters depicted in the 1564 painting, set against a backdrop of religious persecution in Flanders.
Introduction by Barbara Bolibok, UMass.
The director will be present for discussion and Q&A.
7:30pm UMass Amherst
137 Isenberg School of Management
LECH MAJEWSKI is an acclaimed Polish film director, poet, composer, painter, video artist, and an eloquent critic of contemporary culture. He was born in Katowice, Poland, in 1953, and initially studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 1977 he graduated from the National Film School in Łódź. Majewski is an imaginative filmmaker who has made a number of original films that earned him international recognition. As a trained painter, he brings to the film image a painter’s appreciation of perspective, color and stillness that is unusual in the art of moving pictures. The mesmerizing visual language of Majewski’s work invokes the metaphysical and philosophical intensity usually associated with the Polish poets. His most known films include The Mill and The Cross (2011), Angelus (2001), Wojaczek (1999), The Roe’s Room,(1998), and Glass Lips (1997). The Mill and the Cross, a film based on a painting by Pieter Bruegel entitled “The Procession to Cavlary,” is a meditation on art and history. Majewski’s films were shown, among other places, at the Sundance Film Festival, MOMA, Image Forum in Tokyo, SmArt Project Space in Amsterdam, National Gallery Zachęta in Warsaw, National Museum in Kraków, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2006 a retrospective of Majewski’s work was organized by MOMA in New York City. His visual imagination transcends the limitations of medium and genre, and his work includes pieces of video art, such as Bruegel Suite, installed in the Louvre in 2011, and Blood of the Poet, staged at his MOMA retrospective. Majewski lives in Katowice and is currently working on two films: Psie Pole (Dogs’ Field), a film devoted to promoting the unique atmosphere of his native Katowice, and a film adaptation of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Psie Pole will have its premiere in the US later this year.
BARBARA BOLIBOK is a Lecturer in Comparative Literature and has taught courses on Polish Film, Polish and Russian Writers, Russian literature, and Polish language. Her theoretical and research interests are interdisciplinary. In analyzing cinematic texts, Bolibok draws on the language of psychoanalysis as a source of nuanced understanding of symbolic processes and rich metaphors. She is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the capacity of film as an art form to symbolically work through cultural traumas. Her research interests include Polish cinema, the work of Polish female directors, the films of Krzysztof Kieslowski, and psychoanalytic approaches to film interpretation. Her work in literary studies focuses on the poetics of self-representation in the writings of Polish and Russian women autobiographers. In addition to earning a PhD in Russian literature from Cornell University and her academic teaching, Bolibok graduated from the Smith College School for Social Work with a MSW degree and is a practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapist in Northampton. Her publications appeared in The Russian Review, Smith Studies in Social Work, and Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature.