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Polish Filmmakers NYC will proudly present two films by Maciej Cuske [pronounced: [tz-oo-skeh], the award-winning Old Bookstore and Remember the Sabbath Day. A Q&A with Cuske will follow the films.
7 p.m. - Old Bookstore is a portrait of a small Warsaw establishment run by its aloof and chatty proprietor, Mr. Krzyś. Krzyś talks to his many clients, helping them find the books they desire, scorning them for their reading tastes, and at times serving as a private psychoanalyst of sorts. His gruff manner somehow doesn’t damage his business, but instead makes him a neighborhood fixture for those who cannot afford mint hardbacks and instead turn to previously owned paperbacks and old magazines. Cuske’s camera hardly leaves the old bookstore it portrays, allowing us to feel at home and experience the slowing down of time and immersion in written words that is Mr. Krzyś’ everyday reality. The film’s witty and humane approach won it many fans, a cult status, as well as awards at the renowned Kraków Film Festival and – most fittingly – a special mention at the Festival of Optimistic Movies in Wrocław in 2005. 29 minutes
7:45 p.m. - Remember the Sabbath Day was made as a part of a larger project, Decalogue… After the Decalogue, which examined the ways in which religious beliefs and practices of Polish people have changed in the new century. Cuske focused on his own family, presenting us with a funny and poignant portrait of his 8-year-old son Staś, who is about to attend his first communion. The boy is skeptical of the white wafer turning into the body of Christ, and we observe his long and grueling preparation to receive the holiest of Catholic sacraments. Shot in a deliberately hasty, home video-like style, Remember the Sabbath Day is rough at the edges as it poses its bold and relentless questions. By portraying the three generations of the Cuske family – with the director’s own parents criticizing their son’s largely secular worldview – the film offers a unique glimpse into the clash of modernity and tradition that defines the Polish experience of the past two decades.
8:30 p.m. – Q&A with Maciej Cuske.