Silent Movie Festival to make spectators speechless

Starting from Thursday, visitors to the southern Polish city of Kraków will have the opportunity to watch the 19th Silent-Movie Festival and learn about the Polish world-famous actress of Hollywood’s silent and golden era Pola Negri.

The screenings will take place in the “Pod Baranami” Cinema. From December 6 to 9, movie-lovers will enjoy a trip across the history of silent movies under the motto “Pola, Polonia, Polonica”.

The motto leads to Pola Negri, born in Poland as Apolonia Chałupiec, who became a shining star of Hollywood’s silent movies, paving the way for artists such as Marlena Dietrich and Greta Garbo.

The festival, however, does not limit itself to Pola Negri’s career but also “revives” such artists as the phenomenal Polish filmmaker of Jewish origin Alexander Hertz whose movie “the Beast” features Pola Negri embodying a shrewd and beautiful girl striving for a better life. The movie has been digitally remastered by the National Film Archive.

Other movies, featuring Pola Negri, available for festival-goers are Eugen Illés’ romance “Mania” and Mauritz Stiller’s comedy “Imperial Hotel”. Interestingly, “Imperial Hotel” is the only surviving movie by Mauritz Stiller.

Born in NYC, Yiddish cinema and theatre star Molly Picon will be seen on the screen as well in a charming “East and West” comedy, which tells the story of an American who causes quite a commotion while revisiting her hometown in the historical region of Galicia, parts of which are included within Poland’s contemporary borders.

Movies featuring Pola Negri, Molly Picon and other stars will be accompanied by live music performed by Polish and foreign artists, including world-renowned Polish instrumental ensemble Kroke.

Kraków city hall and the Goethe Institute in Kraków helped the Foundation for Cinema and the “Pod Baranami” Cinema to organise the festival.