Janusz Nasfeter’s short length films restored at the 39. GFF

Janusz Nasfeter’s short length films restored at the 39. GFF

The 39. Gdynia Film Festival, within the “Forgotten Classics” section, will present unique short-length films of the review’s Hero – Janusz Nasfeter. The section is prepared together with Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych in Łódź.

Apart from the most famous Nasfeter’s full length films (“Coloured Stockings”, “Butterflies”, “My Dad”, “Little Dramas”), the Festival viewers will have the unusual opportunity to familiarize themselves with the director’s short features that today are considered as especially significant in the director’s achievements. One of the elements of the section “Forgotten Classics. Janusz Nasfeter” will be a show of unique short-length films of the director, produced by Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych (WFO). Nasfeter is one of the directors co-creating the 65-year-long history of WFO whose anniversary celebrations have been planned for 29 December 2014 in Łódź.

“We selected four images from the WHO archives, comprising of about 5,000 films: “Mates”, “Stas the Latecomer”, “A Little Slob” and “Pictures no. 1/55”. From 1950 to 1956, Janusz Nasfeter made short-length educational and feature films in WHO. There are several dozen of his images in the WHO’s archives. Although short and “educational”, they distinctly bear the hallmarks of the skills and talent of their author. The films have been prepared in the digital version by WHO especially for the needs of the director’s retrospective during the 39. Gdynia Film Festival, which became possible thanks to the financing of the Polish Film Institute,” explains Katarzyna Madaj-Kozłowska, the Chairperson of the Board of WHO. “All the films presented, although they have didactic overtones, stand out with unusual craftsmanship of the director, are distinguished with care to the plastic framing of the world depicted and the brilliant acting of children.”

Three of the films presented were recorded on a flammable nitro tape which had to be transferred to an inflammable tape. The securing of the copies (perpetual archivisation) is implemented in cooperation with Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych (WFDiF) in Warsaw. Sound reconstruction was made by Paweł Jaźwiecki. WFDiF is currently preparing a digital version of the films for the Festival screenings. And the digitization of the “Mates” film was made by Cyfrowe Repozytorium Filmowe and Fixafilm.

“The beautifully restored short-length films of Nasfeter are real treats for the aficionados of the director’s artistic work. Although they are educational films, and hence have didactic overtones, Nasfeter’s craftsmanship is on the highest level and each of the short length films presented bears the tracks of the topics that were later fully, beautifully taken up in the filmmaker’s later works,” says Michał Oleszczyk, the Artistic Director of the Gdynia Film Festival.

The film “Mates” (1956, 15 min) can be treated as a prelude to the full length feature debut of Janusz Nasfeter – “Little Dramas” from 1958. The film is set in Chełmno in the 50. Maniek, together with Olek, often bully Staś, calling him a loser. This unfair judgement makes the boy become withdrawn. Only because of a coincidence does this very unpleasant situation change.

Another three films are examples of the educational cinema typical of the production profile of WFO which, thanks to the talented filmmaker, after over 60 years, are still perceived as valuable images with artistic potential and unusually well performed children’s roles.

“Stas the Latecomer” (1952, 24 min) is a tale about the troubles of a sensitive boy who contends with the problem of punctuality. The film proves how skillfully Janusz Nasfeter worked with juvenile actors and how aptly he cast them in his films. “Pictures no. 1/55” is comprised of three short stories: “Uwaga woda!” (“Be careful, water!”), “Elek” (“Elek”) and “…a statek odpłynął beze mnie” (“…and the ship sailed away without me”). All the three tales are didactic in their message, they teach and warn the youth and children against the dangers that await them in life. The film splendidly becomes part of the director’s style who as early as in his first films described the tangled world of childlike dilemmas. “A Little Slob” (1951, 14 min), one of the first films made by Nasfeter in WFO, describes the difficult road of the transformation of the little boy who, through the obstacles encountered, realises the importance of keeping cleanliness. The didactic message is given without insistence, even with subtlety. A brilliant selection of children actors make the film distinguish itself with a peculiar, sentimental charm and a favourable attitude towards children’s problems until today.