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AGE OF CZESLAW MILOSZ, THE
$29.95

This handsome documentary commemorates the 100th birthday of Czeslaw Milosz, the Nobel Prize-winning Polish-Lithuanian poet who spanned his century. Famous cultural figures, friends, and family retrace the life and work of this extraordinary thinker, joined by Milosz’s own words and a wealth of archival material. Born in a cross-border region of Lithuania in 1911, Milosz grew up a polyglot, fluent in Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, English, and French. After studying law, Milosz travelled to Paris, where he published poems, fiction, and essays. This led him to Warsaw, where he spent World War II working for underground presses. Surviving Nazi rule, he went on to serve as a cultural attache of Poland in Paris. In 1951, he defected to the West and wrote his most famous prose work, The Captive Mind. By 1960, Milosz had emigrated to the U.S. to teach at the University of California, Berkeley. Throughout, he continued to publish poetry that spoke in clear words to the human condition during times of tumult. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Milosz returned to Poland, where he passed away in 2004 at the age of 93. More than a well-researched biography, The Age of Czeslaw Milosz is a lyrical reflection on a life spent in exile yet filled with humor, passion, and big ideas that often went against the spirit of the age. In Lithuanian with English subtitles.

Juozas Javaitis---Lithuania---2012---185 mins.
BAD LUCK
$29.95

The odyssey of a man through Poland from 1930 to 1950, in a changing world that seems to have no place for him. We watch him from his childhood to his first love, from his unwilling involvement in Fascist politics to his arrest and imprisonment in a POW camp. In Polish with English subtitles. Andrzej Munk---Poland---1960---105 mins.
BIG MESS, THE
$29.95

A unique and provocative interpretation of sci-fi, Alexander Kluge's Der Grosse Verhau "suggests Georges Melies, with the limited equipment of his day, remaking 2001" (The New York Times). In the year 2034, the Kruger star system is dominated by a powerful corporate giant called the Suez Canal Company. Large sections of the galaxy have been portioned off to corporations, which exploit raw materials and push out smaller businesses that cannot obtain operator's licenses. In this tightly controlled arena, salvagers Vincenze and Maria Starr, space pilot Douglas, and entrepreneur Furst eke out a living as rebels or pirates (depending on your view of Marx). Winner of an Interfilm Award at the Berlin Film Festival. In German with English subtitles.

Alexander Kluge---West Germany---1971---86 mins.
BOLSHE VITA
$29.95

This acclaimed, multiple-award-winning film centers around a group of young people who meet in a rock pub in Budapest in the summer of 1989 during Hungary's fleeting celebration of Communism's fall. This Pynchonesque crew includes two goofy Russian musicians, an engineer who has been reduced to selling kitchen knives, and two girlfriends, English and American, in search of action. After the fun and romance, they must move on, as the mafia and the onset of new nationalist chaos closes in. In Hungarian and Russian with English subtitles.

Ibolya Fekete---Hungary---1996---90 mins.
BRIGANDS: CHAPTER VII
$29.95

This crazy, satirical epic humorously portrays several eras in European history. Though the costumes and regimes change, the film suggests, the human motives of lust and greed remain the same. Jumping back and forth in time, the film condemns its characters to an eternity of irony. In one section, a medieval king named Vano, who has a penchant for exotic torture techniques, executes his wife for being unfaithful. Seamlessly the film flashes forward to the early 1930s, with another Vano, played by the same actor, portraying a low-down thief who suddenly seizes power. Intercut with all of this is the story of a contemporary Vano, a hapless drunk who wanders across the underworlds of Europe. This extraordinary film expresses rage against the dark side of human nature that keeps despots in power, despite the upheavals of history, but it does so with a delightfully comic edge. (FYI, there are no chapters 1-6). In Georgian and French with English subtitles. Otar Iosseliani---France/Georgia---1996---129 mins.
CLOUDS OF WAR
$79.95

Set in the 17th century, this made-for-Polish television series follows two Prussian Army officers who are labeled enemies of the state and thrown in jail for objecting to the ill treatment of an aristocrat. Upon escaping from    prison, they embark on an epic adventure full of sword fights, cloak and dagger deceptions and amorous pursuits. All ten episodes are collected here, including Scaffold, Bloody Matchmakers, Envy, Altercation, The Black Bag, Intrigue, Pantomime, Wolf's Lair, Engagements and The Chase. In Polish with English subtitles. Andrzej Konic---Poland---1973---508 mins.
CODE NAME RUBY
$19.95

A search for the source of mystical knowledge is at the heart of this controversial feature from Czech New Wave veteran Jan Nemec (Diamonds of the Night). The film combines documentary, archival footage, and fiction into an elliptical narrative in which two young lovers in Prague–an ancient seat of alchemy–follow the trail of the fabled philosopher’s stone. History and future blend as Nemec, through brilliant montage sequences and fanciful leaps of the imagination, posits crucial questions about the legacy of the past and how it influences the individual’s personal freedom and responsibility. Jan Nemec’s second film, A Report on the Party and the Guests, was “banned forever” after the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968. He was not permitted to work and barred from leaving Czechoslovakia until 1974. After his release, Nemec spent almost two decades abroad before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, when he returned to his homeland made this stunning work of meta-fiction. In Czech with English subtitles.

Jan Nemec---Czech Republic---1997---80 mins.
COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM: THE UNTOLD STORY
$18.95

The Collapse of Communism demonstrates that political change does not necessarily mean a changing of the guard. Director Robert Buchar’s central thesis is that the threat Russia posed to the U.S. during the Cold War has not abated since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The same people who opposed the U.S. remain in power today, and they have since gained the higher ground. Beginning with perestroika, Buchar weaves a series of interviews with notable dissidents, defectors, government agents, journalists, and professors into a compelling account of how economic turmoil in the former Soviet Union led top officials to re-strategize its conflict with the West. Using the binary of communism vs. democracy as an ideological smokescreen, Russia was able to goad the U.S. into believing the Cold War had been “won.” Buchar contends that Russia is now uniquely able to project an agreeable image of its internal politics to the West while using its Cold War espionage networks and connections to organized crime to press its strategic advantage. The film will likely raise eyebrows among more skeptical viewers, but Buchar’s case is enlivened by the inclusion of a news ticker, vignettes, special effects, and a soundtrack befitting a spy thriller. Whether you’re sold on all the film’s claims, you can’t deny this oft-repeated notion: the most effective form of deception is telling someone what they want to hear and letting them write the story. Featuring former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Tennent H. Bagley, former chief of counterintelligence for the CIA’s Soviet division.

Robert Buchar---USA/Belgium/Czech Republic---2012---107 mins.
COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM: THE UNTOLD STORY (BLU-RAY)
$29.95

The Collapse of Communism demonstrates that political change does not necessarily mean a changing of the guard. Director Robert Buchar’s central thesis is that the threat Russia posed to the U.S. during the Cold War has not abated since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The same people who opposed the U.S. remain in power today, and they have since gained the higher ground. Beginning with perestroika, Buchar weaves a series of interviews with notable dissidents, defectors, government agents, journalists, and professors into a compelling account of how economic turmoil in the former Soviet Union led top officials to re-strategize its conflict with the West. Using the binary of communism vs. democracy as an ideological smokescreen, Russia was able to goad the U.S. into believing the Cold War had been “won.” Buchar contends that Russia is now uniquely able to project an agreeable image of its internal politics to the West while using its Cold War espionage networks and connections to organized crime to press its strategic advantage. The film will likely raise eyebrows among more skeptical viewers, but Buchar’s case is enlivened by the inclusion of a news ticker, vignettes, special effects, and a soundtrack befitting a spy thriller. Whether you’re sold on all the film’s claims, you can’t deny this oft-repeated notion: the most effective form of deception is telling someone what they want to hear and letting them write the story. Featuring former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Tennent H. Bagley, former chief of counterintelligence for the CIA’s Soviet division.

Robert Buchar---USA/Belgium/Czech Republic---2012---107 mins.
COLONEL WOLODYJOWSKI
$29.95

The third and final entry in the historical trilogy based on the work of Henryk Sienkiewicz is a landmark epic. Set in the year 1668 during the Turkish invasion of Poland's eastern frontier, the film chronicles Colonel Wolodyjowki's final defense against the Turks through rousing battle scenes and impressive action. With Tadeusz Loniski, Magdalena Zawadzka, Daniel Olbrychski. In Polish with English subtitles.  Jerzy Hoffman---Poland---1969---148 mins.
CONFESSION
$39.95

This powerful and unique documentary by Alexander Sokurov--a man considered by many to be Russia's finest living filmmaker--chronicles the lives of a soul-searching ship's captain and his young sailors as they sail the Arctic region in a Russian naval ship. Narrated mostly by the captain, the film focuses on the daily duties associated with a ship based in the Arctic, but it is also an engrossing study in human solitude and the effects of isolation. "A tremendously moving portrait of despair and its causes through imagery that's both sensuous and confined" (Chicago Reader). In Russian with English Subtitles.  Alexander Sokurov---Russia---1998---210 mins.
DECALOGUE, THE
$79.95

"One of the great movie achievements of our time" (Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune), Krzysztof Kieslowski's Decalogue explores the timeless moral issues of human existence through ten contemporary tales, each based on one of the Ten Commandments. Originally produced for Polish television, this brilliant series of ten separate but subtly intertwining films transcended the boundaries of film and TV, winning honors in both arenas as it played around the world. The Decalogue won the FIPRESCI Award at the 1989 Venice Film Festival, was honored as Best Foreign Television Program by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was named Best Foreign Language Film by the Chicago Film Critics Association in 1997. Each episode was co-written by Kieslowski's longtime collaborator Krzysztof Piesiewicz and features music by Zbigniew Preisner. All ten films in a three-disc set. In Polish with English subtitles.

Krzysztof Kieslowski---Poland---1988-1989---562 mins.
DELUGE
$49.95

The action takes place in the 17th century, the turbulent period of the Polish-Swedish war. The plot is woven around the stormy love of Andrzej Kmicic (Daniel Olbrychski), for a young woman named Olenka. Based on the novel by Nobel prize-winning author Henryk Sienkiewicz, much of this exciting and romantic film was shot in authentic, ancient Polish castles. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1974, The Deluge was released overseas in a 183-minute cut, but was first shown in Poland in this much longer, two-part version. In Polish with English subtitles.  Jerzy Hoffman---Poland---1974---290 mins.
DISTANT JOURNEY
$29.95

Banned for decades, this rediscovered classic of Holocaust Cinema was shot only three years after the war ended, making it one of the first films to deal with the Holocaust. The film follows the struggles of Dr. Hannah Kaufman and her family from the time of the Nazi Occupation of Prague to her experiences in the transit camp of Theresienstadt (modern Terezin). Director Alfred Radok skillfully weaves together documentary-style footage with expressionist dramatic sequences to convey both the reality of history and the nightmare of its impact. "Portrays [its subject] more realistically than any film I have seen, including Schindler's List" (Films in Review). In Czech with English Subtitles---Czechoslovakia---1949---98 mins.
ELECTRA, MY LOVE
$29.95

In an awesome leap of imagination, Miklos Jancso, one of the world's great filmmakers, relocates the classic myth of Electra to a desolate Hungarian plain. Here, the nail-biting drama plays out against the rituals of naked girls and galloping horsemen. The film is shot as a visual epic, with elaborate camera moves that are Jancso's famous signature. When Electra takes off in a red helicopter, the story catapults into the future, in a masterstroke that leaves the audience breathless. "A masterpiece" (Film Comment). In Hungarian with English subtitles.

Miklos Jancso---Hungary---1974---71 mins.
END OF AUGUST AT THE HOTEL OZONE, THE
$29.95

A beautifully filmed, yet very bleak, post-apocalyptic vision of the future, which finds a group of women reverting to primitive barbarity in order to survive. From Czech New Wave director Jan Schmidt. "A Mad Max directed by Andrei Tarkovsky" (American Cinematheque). In Czech with English subtitles.

Jan Schmidt---Czechoslovakia---1967---87 mins.
EROICA
$29.95

A truly great film and one of the key works of postwar Polish cinema, this feature by Andrzej Munk is a fine example of the Polish myth of romantic heroism. The Warsaw Uprising is looked at through the eyes of a drunken black marketeer; in the second "movement," Polish prisoners in a German camp fanatically believe in the heroism of their comrade, which, in fact, is a farce. "Eroica," wrote Pauline Kael, "is a true black comedy and one of the few modern movies that has something relevant to say about the modern world." In Polish with English subtitles.

Andrzej Munk---Poland---1957---83 mins.
FIFTH HORSEMAN IS FEAR, THE
$29.95

A Jewish physician in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia works in a warehouse after the Nazi ban all Jews from holding professional positions. When he helps an injured political fugitive, he is plunged into a moral and ethical conflict. Within an historical context, director Zynek Brynych creates a thinly disguised allegory about communist Czechoslovakia that is rich in atmosphere and dark in tone. "...a nearly perfect film" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). In Czech with English subtitles.

Zbynek Brynych---Czechoslovakia---1964---100 mins.
FORBIDDEN RELATIONS
$29.95

A true story of incest and its repercussions is brought to life in this exceptional drama that goes far beyond the sensationalism of the subject matter. It is a powerful tale of two lovers who discover they are half-siblings. They refuse to end their relationship even after the young woman's pregnancy puts them up against social ostracism and imprisonment. "...a delirious expression of l'amour fou, effectively filmed against a prosaic background. Driving, floating long takes, reminiscent of Kezdi-Kovacs's mentor Miklos Jancso, are used to express the uncontrollable passion of the young couple..." (Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader). In Hungarian with English subtitles.

Zsolt Kezdi-Kovacs---Hungary---1983---92 mins.
GOOD SOLDIER SCHWEIK
$29.95

Based on the legendary novel by Czech humorist Jaroslav Hasek, The Good Soldier Schweik mixes slapstick and satire to stand alongside Catch 22 and M*A*S*H as a riotous commentary on the absurdity of war. Acclaimed Czech actor Rudolf Hrusinsky stars as the cheerful Schweik, a good-natured buffoon with a story for every occasion. After getting drafted into the Czech army during WWI, Schweik becomes an assistant to high-ranking military officials, and unwittingly wreaks havoc on the leaders of the 91st infantry. In Czech with English subtitles. Karel Stekly---Czech Republic---1956