Monthly Archives: June 2015

Two Łódź museums


Entrance of the Muzeum Kinematografii, announcing the temporary exhibition on Ida

While being in Łódź, I took the opportunity to visit its film museum and its museum of modern art. The Muzeum Kinematografii lies opposite Poland’s famous national film school, where big names such as Jerzy Skolimowski, Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieślowski studied. Apart from showing a collection of Polish film posters (which make me realize I’ve seen only very few Polish films), however, the film museum does only very little with Poland’s rich film history. Instead, it tells (solely in Polish though) the traditional story of the pioneers of cinema (Porter, Griffith, Méliès, Williamson, etc.), mixed with a diversity of old editing tables and other film equipment.


The museum is housed in a neo-renaissance style residence of one of Łódź’s former textile industrialists, which means that you’re visiting two museums at the same time; after the film posters exhibition room, you enter a 19th century ball room, after which you enter a temporary exhibition on Paweł Pawlikowski’s wonderful film Ida. Although the exhibition merely shows film stills, posters (including the bilingual Belgian one) and some interviews (only in Polish, of course), it succeeds in bringing back the intense black-and-white atmosphere of the film.


The original Christ statue that appears in the film Ida, as can be seen in the film still on the right

On the next levels, the museum offers a rather old-fashioned introduction to the world of animation film, but also a fascinating original 19th century still-working Kaiserpanorama or fotoplastikon, a device with rotating stereoscopic images and a 3D effect.


Original fotoplastikon/Kaiserpanorama

The Muzeum Sztuki (n° 2, I didn’t visit n° 1) houses a rich collection of 20th and 21st century art, arranged in such a way that it forms a reflection upon the various identities of modernity. Thereby, it focuses on avant-garde and experimental approaches. A timely opportunity to catch up with great Polish artists such as Karol Hiller, Władysław Strzemiński and others!

le trottoir

Cliché qui trouvait sur le trottoir (1970, Jerzy Lewczynski)

Polish Permeke

A Jewish-Polish Permeke: Young worker (1929) by Jankiel Adler

NECS conference in Łódź


Key note speaker Oliver Grau

Yesterday, I arrived in Łódź to attend the yearly conference of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies. The conference’s central theme of ‘archives’ proves to be a highly rewarding topic. Apart from a wide diversity of presentations and key note lectures (such as a very interesting one by Oliver Grau, on digital art), the conference also offers an interesting selection of screenings (curated by Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings) of 1970s and 1980s films of Polish amateur film clubs.


Screening of Syzyfowie (1971, Tadeusz Wudzki)

In my own presentation, entitled ‘Archival film policy research: methodological opportunities’, I discussed the research design of my PhD dissertation and put it into relation with general methodological traditions in film policy research. I particularly focused on the archival research part and the new methodological opportunities for film (policy) research in the present digital times. This presentation was part of a pre-constituted panel on film policy, which I set up together with my Italian colleague Marco Cucco and Swedish colleague Olof Hedling. Hope to see them soon again!

Film policy panel

The film policy panel

Academia & cinephilia

Being back in Belgium for one month now, I realize what a luxury it was to be in Paris and to have time to read things without a clearly defined practical purpose, to watch as many films as I wanted and to write the things I had promised myself to write a long time ago. At the same time, however, it has been a very rich month in Belgium, especially in terms of education activities; finishing the course International Communication at Ghent University, providing a guest lecture on European cinema to an international summer school audience at the KU Leuven (this lecture was followed by a screening of Roy Andersson’s idiosyncratic A pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence) and correcting a pile of student’s tasks, exams and bachelor’s and master’s dissertations (that one excellent paper making all the work already worth it).


Richard Suchenski discussing Hou’s masterpiece A city of sadness

I was also happy to attend some interesting events at the intersection of academia and cinephilia, such as the closing event of Ghent University’s film club Film-Plateau, with a screening of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s rather silly but still amusing Green green grass of home (the Belgian Film Archive Cinematek had just restored this film), and, the next day, a symposium on this very same Taiwanese filmmaker in Antwerp. Unfortunately, I missed the interview session with the director himself (who had just won the Best Director award at Cannes for his film The Assassin), but this was partly made up by the illuminating presentation of Richard Suchenski, on the creative use of point-of-view, subjectivity, montage and the idea of realism in Hou’s films. The symposium was curated by Tom Paulus (University of Antwerp), who was also the supervisor of Vito Adriaensens’s PhD dissertation on the cinema of the French production company Pathé and the Danish company Nordisk in the period 1908-1914. Looking forward to the book publication that he promised at his public PhD defense…

Uitnodiging verdediging Vito Adriaensens

Invitation for Vito Adriaensens PhD defense