Master filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi to speak at IU Cinema as part of film series

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Krzysztof Zanussi might not be a familiar name to most Americans, but director Martin Scorsese is out to change that.

His program "Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema" is bringing 21 of the country's classic films to U.S. audiences. In conjunction with the tour, world-renowned filmmaker Zanussi will come to the Indiana University campus at 3 p.m. Sept. 12 to speak in the IU Cinema.

Scorsese said these Polish films are an important part of a golden age of international cinema.

"This is a cinema of personal vision, social commitment and poetic responsibility," he said, adding that these classics set a high standard that, "as a filmmaker, I strive to achieve with every film."

Zanussi was born in 1939 in Warsaw and studied philosophy and physics at the university level before graduating from the Lodz Film School in 1966. In his wide-ranging career, Zanussi has served as screenwriter, director and producer, in addition to occasional turns as an author and stage director. He is best known for creating deeply philosophical dramas often focused on the ethical choices and metaphysical questions involved in daily life.

"We are very excited to be hosting a filmmaker of Krzysztof Zanussi's stature," IU Cinema director Jon Vickers said. "He has been making sophisticated, philosophical films since the late 1960s and continues to be relevant today, with his newest film premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival next week. It is truly an honor for us to introduce our audience to his work."

The IU Cinema is featuring all three Zanussi pictures selected for Scorsese’s film tour. Each of the Polish-language films carries English subtitles. Each screening is free but ticketed. Zanussi is scheduled to be present Sept. 12 and 13:

  •  7 p.m. Sept. 6, "The Illumination" -- Zanussi wrote and directed this 1972 film about a physics student's quest to understand the meaning of life. The journey unfolds in a mix of experimental film techniques, animation and documentary footage.
  •  3 p.m. Sept. 12, Jorgensen Lecture with Krzysztof Zanussi -- Zanussi's appearance is part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series. A 45-minute onstage interview will be led by Paige Rasmussen from IU's Polish Studies Center. Afterward, audience members may participate in a question-and-answer session. Tickets are not required for this event; however, seating is limited.
  • 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12, "Camouflage" -- This 1976 comedy written and directed by Zanussi mocks academic conformity by exploring the relationship between a young linguistics professor and his diabolical senior colleague at a university summer camp.
  •  6:30 p.m. Sept. 13, "The Constant Factor" -- A naive but honest young man dreams of climbing the Himalayas, just as his father had done before him, in this award-wining 1980 release. He confronts reality, the death of his mother and the illusion of choice in this powerful film written and directed by Zanussi.

Free tickets for the films are now available, with a limit of two per person for each show. Tickets for IU Cinema films can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the cinema one hour before any screening; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

Zanussi's visit is sponsored by IU Cinema, with support from IU's Polish Studies Center. Special thanks go out to The Film Foundation, Milestone Films, Martin Scorsese, Jedrzej Sablinski and Amy Heller.

The Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Ove W. Jorgensen Foundation. Past guests include Peter Bogdanovich, Claire Denis, Werner Herzog, Abbas Kiarostami, Albert Maysles, Edward James Olmos, John Sayles, Meryl Streep and many others.

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