lunes, 8 de febrero de 2010

Muzykanci - Karabasz (1960)

A film about a single rehearsal of an amateur brass band made up of Warsaw tram drivers.

To give you an example of how far Polish documentaries came in the five years since the very first black series films, I’m going to end this talk with a complete screening of Kazimierz Karabasz’ The Musicians, a film that is to Polish documentary what Night Mail or A Diary for Timothy are to its British counterpart: both a benchmark and an inspiration. It’s also had a modicum of international recognition thanks to the support of two of Karabasz’ most distinguished pupils. When invited to vote in Sight & Sound’s 1992 poll of the best films ever made, Krzysztof Kieślowski polemically included The Musicians alongside the likes of Citizen Kane and La Strada.

Karabasz’ other protégé, Marcel Łoziński, who also went on to become one of Poland’s greatest documentary-makers, also singled out The Musicians when asked to pick his favourite documentary by the Danish magazine Dox. He said “There are films in which there appears to be nothing, yet it turns out there is everything. There are films, in which it seems there is everything, and yet there is nothing. And very rarely, one encounters films in which there is everything, and it truly means everything. I first watched The Musicians when I was 20 - and I experienced a strange feeling that I had seen something that was not on the screen at all. I could see those people from the tram-drivers’ orchestra in their homes and I could clearly see their wives; I could hear what they were talking about, what they were worried about, what they were laughing at. I could see their flats, windowless kitchens and feathery beds; I could see what pictures were hanging on their walls, see their grandchildren doing their homework and see their Sunday dinners. I could even hear the noise of their neighbours. After that I watched The Musicians numerous times - and the feeling remained. I could always see and hear much more than there really was on the screen. Because on the screen it was merely an orchestra rehearsal and some faces - nothing more. But it was that ‘nothing’ that meant everything to me. And it is still the same today.”

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