From 1911 to 1928 the dominant character was the producer and director A. Hertz, who specialized his company (“Sfinks”) in erotic melodramas also interpreted by Pola Negri, and in patriotic films, first anti-Czarist and then anti-Bolshevik, also directed by R. Boleslawski. Impervious to Soviet influence in the 1920s, Polish cinema proved rather inclined to French impressionism with the directors L. Trystan, J. Gardan, H. Szaro (later shot in the Warsaw ghetto) and with the first theoretical-critical studies. Good technical level from The Vampires of Warsaw (1925) to The Verdict of Life (1934), which also came to Italy, it drew cultural authenticity with J. Lejtes, with a group of Yiddish films of which the most intense and poetic will be Dybuk (1938) by M. Waszinski, and with the work of A. Ford, who introduced realism in documentary and narrative film (The Legion of the Road, 1932) and participated (with Awakening, 1934) in the avant-garde Start movement. Ford himself was one of the founders of the nationalized cinema at the Liberation and in 1948 among its first authors (Fiamme su Warsaw) together with Wanda Jakubowska, already his colleague in the Start group and back from the hell of Auschwitz (Last stage). A first period of gray observance of Stalinism ended with Ford’s interesting color film The Five on Barska Street (1954). But in the mid-1950s, also thanks to its organization into relatively autonomous groups (Start, Kadr, Studio, Rythm, Kamera, etc.) entrusted to individual directors, the first sign of renewal in the socialist countries came from Polish cinema.. It was the dazzling season of A. Wajda and his masterpiece Ash and Diamonds (1958), by J. Kawalerowicz up to Mother Giovanna degli Angeli (1961), by A. Munk with Eroica (1957) and the posthumous film The Passenger (1961-63). See campingship for Poland travel guide.
If the epicenter of the “new wave” was the war tragedy revisited with new eyes, in some of these works and in other directors (WJ Has, T. Konwicki, etc.) contemporary themes emerged, while a symptom of the subsequent involution in the the sixties was precisely the historical-spectacular escape (Manuscript found in Zaragoza, 1964, by Has; Ceneri, 1965, by Wajda; Il Faraone, 1966, by Kawalerowicz). However, young people arose to oppose this tendency and reaffirm the values of current events: R. Polanski with short films and with the film The Knife in the Water (1962), J. Skolimowski with his autobiographical impetuousness (his fourth film Mani in alto, 1967, will remain blocked by censorship for a dozen years), up to K. Zanussi who made his feature film debut in 1968 with Structure of crystal. Meanwhile, starting with Tutto è in vendita (1968), in memory of the actor Z. Cybulski, who died the year before in an accident, the head of the school Wajda found himself again (Landscape after the battle, 1970; Birch forest, 1971; The wedding, 1973) and in the seventies there was a revival of inspiration with the happy continuation of Zanussi’s activity (Illuminazione, 1972) and with the works of K. Kutz (The pearl of the crown, 1972), by T. Konwicki (So far from here, so close, 1973), by WJ Has (Clessidra, 1973), by G. Krolikiewicz (From part to part, 1973) and by W. Borowczyk (Story of a sin, 1975). In 1977, with Man of Marble Wajda, Mimicry Zanussi and other films, exploded what the Poles called the wave of “social ethics” and that the x-ray of Stalinism came increasingly to the decision of this criticism, of the mechanisms and corruption of power (Without anesthesia, 1978, by Wajda). Around 1980 the production of this assault cinema was very conspicuous: The cineamatore by K. Kieslowski, Actors of the province by Agnieszka Holland, Plenilunio by A. Kondratiuk, Hospital of the transfiguration by E. Zebrowski, The dance director by F. Falk, Kung-fu by J. Kijowski. Until, in 1981, Wajda ‘s Iron Man, awarded at Cannes, marked the maximum point of the complaint. The subsequent political events, with the state of siege and the dissolution of Solidarność, blocked this trend, forcing Wajda with Danton (France, 1982) and Zanussi with Imperativ (West Germany, 1982) to continue their business abroad. Thus, while at home in the Eighties only the extraordinary art of K. Kieslowski was affirmed with Il Decalogo (1988-89) – he too was then forced by the difficulties to emigrate to France for the subsequent La double life of Veronique (1991) and the trilogy of Blue Film (1993), White Film and Red Film (1994) -, the best of Polish cinema of the decade was produced abroad with Western capitals, from Wajda (The Demons, 1988) to Skolimowski (Moonlighting, 1982; The Lighthouse Ship, 1985; 30 Door Key-Ferdyduke, 1991) to Agnieszka Holland (Europe, Europe, 1990; Olivier, Olivier, 1992). During the nineties the Polish film industry was the protagonist of a process of strong westernization, which saw the exponential increase of the American product and the multiplication of film and television offerings (the three Polish TV networks proposed in 1996-97 one thousand titles, five hundred Canal Plus pay TV). Although Krzysztof Kieslowski passed away in 1996, Polish cinema has regained new vigor thanks to the work of Wajda who, in addition to returning to directing with Miss Nobody (1997), Pan Tadeusz (2000), based on the poem by A. Mickiewicz and The revenge (2002), adaptation of a play by playwright A. Fredro, created the Perspektywa Studio, producing works by new talents such as Maciej Dejczer (Brute, 1996) and Maciej Slesicki (Daddy, 1996; Sara, 1997; Show, 2003). Absent from the screens since 1992 (The Silent Touch), Zanussi has also resumed his directing activity who, after In Full Gallop (1995), started the production, as director and producer, of Our’s God Brother (1997), the true story of a painter who chooses conventual life, taken from a tragedy written in 1947 by John Paul II. It is from 2000 Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease, followed by Supplement (2002). Recognitions also internationally have been obtained by Piotr Trzaskalski (Edi, 2002; The Master, 2004) and Dariusz Gajewki (Warsaw, 2003).