Chestnut and Lyon
San Francisco, California 94129

This program features the early short film work of Roman Polanski accompanied by live music by the electroacoustic duo Sza/Za. Between 1958 and 1962, the acclaimed director and Academy Award–winner made a series of short films, most at the renowned Polish Lódz Film School. From playful filmmaking exercises (Murder and Teeth Smile) to the metaphorical (Break Up the Dance, Mammals) to his award-winning graduation film Two Men and a Wardrobe (SFIFF 1958), these films together offer a glimpse of a young filmmaker formulating his artistic concerns. Polanski's trademarks—a meticulous, crisp directorial style and predilection for examining grotesque and often disturbing themes—appear in these early works and would later undergo further development in such masterpieces as Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist. These shorts reveal Polanski’s surreal and dark style, his masterful storytelling ability and his tireless search for the truth about human nature, however crooked and evil it may be.

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, jazz had become a fascination of many Polish filmmakers, and it remained an essential element of Polanski's cinema for many years. The Film Society is pleased to present the short films with live accompaniment by Warsaw-based multi-instrumentalist duo Sza/Za, paying tribute to the Polish jazz pioneer Krzysztof Komeda, Polanski's longtime collaborator both in Europe and Hollywood.

Sza/Za is Pawel Szamburski and Patryk Zakrocki—musicians, improvisers and promoters of culture in the Warsaw music and independent art scene since 1999. Their music is a unique mix of noise and silence, pop and contemporary chamber music, beauty and ugliness, sophisticated wisdom and pure, naïve thoughtlessness. Using clarinet, violin, analog loop stations and subtle effects, the musicians seek to celebrate these acoustic oppositions in an attempt to free both stage and audience from the fetters of cultural norms and expectations. Szamburski and Zakrocki are members of the Warsaw-based independent music label Lado ABC and the Lado Cultural Association, whose activity over the last ten years has contributed a great deal to the dynamic development of new music in Poland.

$12.00 members; $15.00 general public; $13.50 students, seniors and disabled.

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Added by cinesoul on October 7, 2010

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