Ready to travel, ready for something new

One of the hallmarks of the Silent Movie Festival is its diverse musical accompaniment. If it was constrained somewhat in the previous edition by the crime-story conventions of the films screened, then today diversity would seem to be a necessity. Travel is the theme of this seventeenth edition of the festival, with anyone who decides to go on a journey being ready to experience something new.

On this year’s journey around the world we are taking with us a record number of musicians. In line with the theme, they will find themselves in Japan and the Pacific Islands, braving the scorching heat of the jungle and the cold of the freezing Canadian north. They will travel by train, ship and dog sled, and come face-to-face with some of the typical dilemmas for that culture or epoch, as well as situations of incredible fantasy. The members of the band Księżyc, for example, with their dream-like music drawing on both the traditions of minimalism and the rituals of folk music, will try not to awaken the residents of the French capital from their spellbound state (The Crazy Ray), and we have also invited the Polish-Norwegian Maciej Obara Quartet to help resolve the dilemmas of a young priest from a Norwegian parish (The Parson’s Widow).

Aware of the challenges that await them on the big screen, some of the musicians have chosen new companions especially for the festival. Trumpeter and composer Kamil Szuszkiewicz has made changes to the line-up of his band Zvanai to help unravel the mystery of the dinosaurs in South America (The Lost World), while the members of the electro-pop group JAAA! have asked respected saxophonist Irek Wojtczak for help in dealing with pirates (The Extraordinary Adventures of Saturnino Farandola). Meanwhile, the musicians of the Atom String Quartet will try to keep pace with the trains speeding through the night (The Signal Tower) with the help of cornet player Marcin Albert Steczkowski. This year, in addition to the bravura performances provided by highly-respected representatives from the broader world of pop culture, we have also decided to feature more traditional musical accompanists to silent movies – pianists. These will include Pola Atmańska, Aga Derlak, Miłosz Oleniecki and Maciej Tubis.

All those who crave the surprises that a musical journey around the world can bring are invited to come along to the Iluzjon cinema. But be warned – the huge number of new impressions may make your head spin.

Jan Błaszczak
Music curator

Due to the turmoil caused by the pandemic, fans of this festival have had to wait a long time for the 17th edition. Although forced to postpone the date of the event, we have still made every effort to keep the programme in its original form. Certain adjustments were unavoidable, however. The programme has been expanded to include additional film screenings and concert performances, which for the first time in the history of the event will take place in both screening rooms of the Iluzjon cinema.

In addition to the bands and musicians mentioned above, there will also be performances by outstanding artists from the Polish jazz scene, such as the Kasia Pietrzko Trio, the Kuba Płużek Quartet, vibraphonist Marcin Pater's trio, Marek Pędziwiatr, known from the bands EABS and Błoto, as well as the duo of violinist Bartek Dworak and Mateusz Gawęda, who have come together especially for the festival.  

So there is sure to be no shortage of wonderful and daring music. In a word, I consider Jan Błaszczak's warning about potential dizziness caused by the large number of positive impressions to be fully justified.

Aneta Norek-Skrycka
Music curator

National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute

Wałbrzyska Street 3/5
02-739 Warsaw
tel. + 48 22 380 49 00
fax: +48 22 380 49 01

Cinema Iluzjon 
ul. Narbutta 50a 
02-541 Warszawa
tel. +48 22 848 33 33
      +48 22 182 46 41
      +48 22 182 46 42

For media

Svetlana Furman-Caspar
– festival coordination
tel. +48 22 380 49 78
m.  +48 886 444 884

Beata Żurawska – PR
tel. + 48 662 099 200

Iga Harasimowicz
– films
tel. + 48 577 010 384

Aneta Norek
– music
tel. + 48 668 378 588