Polska Kronika Filmowa, n. 52 A-B

Special edition of Poland’s weekly film-magazine Polska Kronika Filmowa, which showed in theatres before features and existed 1944-1995.

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Made between the darkly comic Eroica and Zezowate szczęście, Munk’s newsreel is a delightful[ly absurd] counterpoint to his earlier, humourless docu-shorts. It begins on close-ups of socialist functionaries answering telephones—one telling a woman that the 30% increase in the standard of living is merely an average—proceeds through a photographer’s portraits of cats, and includes a scene of an actor dressed in white pyjamas pretending to be an arctic monkey. Punctuating it all are inserts of the latest “triumphs” of Polish steel milling: big industrial ships being christened—the last of which proves too-easy a cookie to crack, leaving an in-tact champagne bottle and broken hull. There’s also a brief gag about a “happy police”, which gives out tickets to people who look glum; and a sketch about the latest in education experiments: an elementary schoolroom without teachers in which the students do as they please. Inevitably, the whipper-snappers break out the guns and start bashing each other over the heads. As a little boy gets lynched by his classmates, the narrator beams out: “Some day, they’ll be going places!”

Andrzej Munk, 1959

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