Thursday, September 10, 2015

DEMON: Polish Genre Essentials

Demon, directed by Marcin Wrona, details the classic story of the dybbuk, a Jewish legend which has haunted several stories since its creation. With the highly anticipated Demon coming soon to Vanguard, it seemed like the right time to revisit some other pillars of Polish genre cinema.

The Devil (1972) 

Directed by Andrzej Żuławski, who was no stranger to having his films banned from the country, this exploitation-level psychotic film chronicles the Prussian invasion of Poland in 1793. A man named Jakub escapes imprisonment by someone who in return wish to obtain a list of his fellow conspirators, Jakub then follows him through a labyrinthine underbelly where he learns of his father's murder and his mother's prostitution, which drives him to commit multiple disgusting acts of murder.

Mother Joan of Angels (1961)

Sharing similarities to 1971's The Devils, this Polish staple of nunsploitation follows a priest who visits a parish where a demon is believed to be wreaking havoc on one nun, but when he gets there he finds himself overcome by a world of depravity. Directed by Jerzy Kawlerowicz, this film has a scene that is one of the most deserving of iconic status, depicting several nuns sprawled around the church ground in a group exorcism, making it a must-see for fans of genre-weirdness.

The Third Part of the Night (1971) 

Also by Andrzej Żuławski, this film is further off of the horror-edge than his other work, but is equally violent and bleak. It follows a man named Michal in Nazi-occupied Poland, who while hiding in the forrest loses his entire family to a horde of murderous soldiers. Michal sees doppelgänger copies of his deceased wife wherever he goes which drives him further into a pit of madness, as this slowly paced movie falls further and further into absurdity.

Although the country is often sparse in its inclusions to the scene and many of its films cross over multiple genres and persuasions, Polish pieces are rife with political overtones and violence, likely due to a long history of upheaval in the country.

DEMON screens:
Fri, Sept 11, 6:15 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS
Sun, Sept 13, 4:15 PM SCOTIABANK
Sat, Sept 19, 9:15 PM SCOTIABANK

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