Two times Pola Negri on 43rd PFF
The heroine of this year’s “Pre-war Cinema Treasures” at the Polish Film Festival is the great silent movie star, Pola Negri. In Gdynia, film buffs will be able to watch two films she starred in – “The Beast” (1917) and “Mania. The story of a cigarette factory worker” (1918). Both films come from the collection of the National Film Archive – the Audiovisual Institute and have been digitally reconstructed in 4K resolution.
The presented films come from the first period of Pola Negri’s career (whose real name was Apolonia Chałupiec, 1897-1987), an unfulfilled (for health reasons) ballerina and a promising dramatic actress, who has been discovered for the cinema by the owner of the Sfinks label, Aleksander Hertz. The “Beast” he directed is a tragic story of a love triangle. Pola, a provincial girl, escapes from home and goes to a big city, where she becomes a well-known dancer. This is the oldest, and the only movie from her Polish career period that has survived. In 2017, on the centenary of its premiere, “Beast” was digitally restored by the National Film Archive.
“Mania. The story of a cigarette factory worker” directed by Eugen (Jenö) Illés is one of the films opening the German chapter of Pola Negri’s career. The artist’s expressive creation, with the obligatory dance motif, is the main asset of this melodramatic story of love and sacrifice. Until 2006, the film was considered irretrievably lost – at that time the National Film Archive bought a nitro copy from a Czech collector. The film has been thoroughly digitally restored in 2011.
Miraculously found, often incomplete and very damaged films require many months of cinematographic works, conservation and restoration. Our specialists secure and restore, among others, the oldest films, preserved on the original and most valuable, because they come from the time the film was shot, nitro-tapes. Thanks to digital 4K technologies, the old cinema gains a new life on the big screen – says Anna Sienkiewicz-Rogowska, deputy director of the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute.
Let us also remind you that another film from the National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute will be presented during the 43. Polish Film Festival in Gdynia – the pre-war super production “Daredevils” from 1928, directed by Leonard Buczkowski. It will be a special premiere screening with live music as part of the “100 Years of Independence” section. Stephen Horne, an outstanding British composer of music for silent films, will play the piano accompanied by Martin Pyne on percussion instruments.
The National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute is a cultural institution whose task is to protect and share film and audiovisual collections. It plays the role of a competence centre in the area of conservation, digitization and digital restoration of films. It runs a film and audiovisual archive as well as performs educational and culture-creating activities. It is a co‑producer of films and television productions
The 43. Polish Film Festival will take place 17-22 September 2018.