SECTION: Regio: Lower Silesia

Twelve films take a look at the Polish region Lower Silesia with its charismatic capital Wrocław/Breslau. Insights into everyday life and history, war and forgiveness, lawless spaces and imaginative protest – between Western motifs and experimental art.

Since 1945 over 400 theatrical films have been produced in Breslau/Wrocław and the city's wider area. Especially in recent years the film industry in, and works from, Lower Silesia have been experiencing somewhat of a boom. This year the FilmFestival Cottbus presents an exciting collection of feature and documentary films, as well as archive materials and alternative works, that acquaint audiences with a cultural-political and historical landscape.

Lower Silesian cinema furthermore provides a unique opportunity to better understand the past seventy years of European history and experience the cultural and social changes the region has undergone during this time. Long after the end of the Second World War perceptions of Silesia continued to be shaped by a distorted ideal image, as well as a past suppressed due to the pain of expulsion. Only in the sixties did film-makers begin to summon up the necessary courage to retell the history of Lower Silesia from angles that went beyond the state-regulated narrative and resultant works of propaganda. Films like Jerzy Hoffman's THE LAW AND THE FIST, Siegfried Kühn's CHILDHOOD or A YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN by Krzysztof Zanussi confront viewers with a more nuanced view of the region. They narrate German-Polish history in a manner at times poetic, at others relentless, that remains unsurpassed. Documentaries such as THE LETTER OF THE BISHOPS complement this approach. Without Bishop Bolesław Kominek and his famous words "we forgive and ask for forgiveness" Chancellor Willy Brandt's genuflection towards the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1970 would have been almost unfathomable, and the recognition of the Oder-Neisse border hard to imagine. How is reconciliation possible if not thanks to forgiveness? Only a take on the past that is open-minded and free of hate and thus able to delve deeper than one-sided perspectives offers the chance for a common future.

In the Lower Silesian metropolis of Wrocław a new and active film scene had to first be established. This was achieved thanks to the efforts of a group of filmmakers both renowned and diverse such as Bodo Kox (THE MAN WITH THE MAGIC BOX, FFC 2017), the founder of magic realism in Polish film Jan Jakub Kolski and the beatnik of the Polish film scene Przemysław Wojcieszek. KM

Jan Jakub Kolski's film PARDON is presented by the Kozzi Film Festival Zielona Góra.

Regio: Lower Silesia series is supported by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation as well as by the German Culture Forum for Central and Eastern Europe.

Accompanying the film series, the festival presents the exhibition "Silesia after 1945" in cooperation with the Silesian Museum in Görlitz.

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