Monday 13 December 2021

Streaming - Michael Campi draws attention to a new streaming service established by the Polish Film Institute to bring subtitled Polish classics to the world.

A Woman's Decision,
Krysztof Zanussi,Poland, 1975 


You may not need several dozen Polish films to watch before the end of the year but just in case here are details of a new streaming service which seems a model of its kind and, after the establishment of a similar service by the Cinematheque Francaise called HENRI (click to check out the offering) indicates the enormous progress being made by a number of European countries to bring the national cinema heritage to the people.  The Polish links are at the bottom of this note. 

There are several films by Zanussi, Has, Kawalerowicz, Falk, Glinski that I haven't seen.
I saw Has' CODES tonight which was really worth the quite short viewing time. Glowing restoration. 

So far I haven't played with this much.  Using the first of the links below, the Has film played without further intervention apart from choosing subtitles. The link played flawlessly and looked magnificent which is becoming less common with all the invisible watermarks attached to some of these streams lately.  One virtual festival could only be viewed on my iPad in the end with an image so tiny that it was ridiculous to have paid for it. Chrome had been blocked so that the image couldn't be sent to a TV etc. etc. Attaching the MacBook to a television resulted in spluttering images that looked like tiles flying in the wind. 

I believe some of the Polish titles may need an account created which is free till the end of the month. Haha. I've shortlisted about forty titles of interest.  Even if I parted all the waves and watched nothing else for the rest of December, this is an impossible quest. 

There are the usual ways of extending some of the titles on each line and about four pages to be clicked through at the bottom. 

For much of 2021, there has been a steady succession of East European films restored on line.   There were some surprises from Estonia and Latvia and of course Poland has such a rich tradition.  It's interesting how many films by name directors never made our festivals or subsequent national events. 

Happy hunting and all the best for the end of year festivities.  Moreover be safe, well and distanced. 


They are available free until the end of the year. 

Somebody has also posted  a set of Polish film posters with all the titles available on the Letterboxd site. The titles are compiled here.

The announcement by the Polish Film Institute is as follows. Sorry about the white on black

In the years 2018-2021, the Polish Film Institute, the Documentary and Feature Film Studios and Studio Filmow Rysunkowych implemented a Project (number POPC.02.03.02-00-0007 / 17), named:

‘Digital restoration and digitization of Polish feature films, documentaries and animated films in order to ensure access in all fields of distribution (cinema, television, Internet, mobile devices) and to preserve Polish film heritage for future generations’, under Sub-measure 2.3.2 ‘Digital sharing of resources of culture’ for Measure 2.3 ‘Digital accessibility and usefulness of public sector information’, under the Operational Programme Digital Poland for 2014-2020.

160 feature films, 71 documentaries, 474 animated films, including 10 full-length animated films have been restored as part of the project. The restoration has covered:

  •  feature classics by outstanding Polish filmmakers, i.e. Wojciech Jerzy Has, Jerzy Skolimowski, Andrzej Munk, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Janusz Morgenstern, Stanisław Różewicz, Kazimierz Kutz, Andrzej Kondratiuk, Lech Majewski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Feliks Falk, Filip Bajon, and many others ,
  • films present in pop culture, including the ones directed by: Stanisław Bareja, Marek Koterski, Juliusz Machulski,
  • films of the Polish documentary school (including Andrzej Munk, Kazimierz Karabasz, Marcel Łoziński, Andrzej Titkow),
  • animated films of high artistic value (e.g. by Witold Giersz, Jerzy Kalina, Mirosław Kijowicz, Andrzej Czeczot),
  • animated series for children (including the multigenerational series ‘Rex’, ‘Bolek and Lolek’ or a cartoon series for children titled 2 cats + 1 dog).

The project also included the digitization of 3108 unique episodes of the Polish Film Chronicle from 1945-1994.

All the above-mentioned film materials (nearly 4,000 film items) are available on the streaming platform, the final product of the Project. It implements the main goal of the project, which is online sharing and dissemination of restored and digitized film resources as part of the Project.

The platform presents the wealth of Polish cinematography. It offers artistic, educational and historical achievements of Polish cinematography to its users. They can also watch films present in pop-culture.

All film materials presented on the platform meet the requirements of WCAG 2.0 - they have audio descriptions, transcriptions, subtitles in Polish and English, as well as comprehensive descriptions. For foreigners, the entire film library of the Platform is available in English.

The platform has been prepared in accordance with the latest design standards. In addition to the version for web browsers, the platform will be also available as an application for mobile devices (Android and iOS systems) and as an application for smart TVs (Android, Tizen).

As part of the Project, the Distribution Center (a modern digital film distribution center) has been established at the Documentary and Feature Film Studios. The building, which is the seat of the Center (Chelmska Street 21/21) has been modernized and adapted to modern standards and safety requirements.

The Distribution Center has been equipped with specialized hardware, software, systems and technology platforms related to the launch of the digital repository. It creates a system of various environments that enable:

- professional trading of digital copies in all distribution fields (cinema, TV, streaming platforms),

- creating digital film copies in all formats, versions, parameters (according to the order, for the selected field of use),

- automation of the ordering process - generation of a digital file of the appropriate format and online transmission to the recipient (distributor, licensee).

The operator of the platform and the Distribution Center is the Documentary and Feature Film Studios.

The project was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The total value of the project is PLN 109,969,779.89, the value of the European Union funding is PLN 78,336,345.68. The project was also co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in the amount of PLN 14,226,983.73. 

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