I don't think I'm too hard on myself. I have problem with what some of directors did after transition of political system in Poland. Some of them did entangle themselves into politics, becoming senators or MPs. Other abused how films are financed from public money, which can't be outright proved, but in reality it is close to robbery. Other manipulated public opinion to the point of using national tragedy for own gain. My bias has very little to do with quality of films and has more to do with self serving group of people from old film industry as I perceive them. I have zero interest in seeing again films from more than half of Scorsese's list for that apparent reason, better stay quiet I think.
Having said that, I'll point out one director that is probably more popular than others combined in Poland and it is largely unknown outside of country. Stanislaw Bareja - films from second half of his career almost universally have gained cult status. Which is kinda ironic, since his comedies were often dismissed by film society and industry at the time as silly, stupid and empty. Audience on the other hand stayed loyal for the whole time.
I'll focus on one particular film of Stanislaw Beraja: comedy called "Teddy Bear". I'm not sure even if this film can be understood outside of country, but some folks here can enjoy weird films so it is worth pointing out I think.
It looks amateurish or even kitsch at the times. There is almost no character development, director has very little concern regarding establishing continuity, one example: sex interest of main character happens to work in theater, so one of the gags is taking place there, not only that, but after our "hero" leaves theater, we stay there and see another gag with cleaning ladies. Hero or anti-hero for that matter is wrong word to describe any of characters I think, since they are caricatures. Plot is also secondary, it is easier to figure it out from synopsis that film itself. Important thing here is social commentary and satire - Bareja doesn't leave anyone out of this loop. Not surprisingly one of the supporting characters is a film producer - we get to see film making and it is ridiculed also, same goes for other artistic activities like singing.
Humor is both absurd and abstract at the same time. It is hard to compare, I would say it is mixture of Monty Python and films from Prague Spring. Reality isn't preserved - we see things that are taking place in mind of characters or are just not physically possible. I had hard times finding a clip with subtitles, which would show some of this. Here is my rough translation for this very short clip:
- Ignore what TV commentator is saying - it is not important.
- Women: Those blacks are amazing.
- Man: Yeah..
- Women: Not in this way, but overall... look at the way he moves.
- Man: You know, when I was young I was black too and played basketball. I'm serious.
- Man: This is what I did... look.
- What happens next - just see it for yourself.
- Man (in bed): I did that, later I got over it.
Situation are more often than not, just ridiculous, crazy or bizarre (or everything at once). I'm not sure how easily this film can be obtained. I'm also concerned if it can be understood without knowing native language and cultural/social references - I'm not aware what quality subtitles are. Even for me it took two-three viewings before I did get some jokes - it easy to miss them, since they are often abstract and based more on subtleties than punch lines.
It is probably wrong film as introduction to Polish Cinema. Bareja was perceived as outsider by fellow filmmakers, some of it is described in this profile on Bareja
. Yet I can quote Bareja's films all day and personally I see his work as most cathartic from all Polish filmmakers - there is something self-healing about laughing at mirror of ourselves. Don't take it serious, you can treat is as mere curiosity. Bareja is very different filmmaker, his films can be recognized almost instantly to the point of being categorized as own genre.
You asked for it, you got it - even if this isn't representative of Polish Cinema at all ;)