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Polish, British museums launch joint historical film project

2007-08-31

Warsaw's newest museum, the Polish History Museum, has launched a joint project with a London museum to bring the modern history of Poland to the public through the medium of film. A three-part film festival titled "Polish Paths to Freedom" opened on Sept. 1 at the Imperial War Museum cinema.

The first part of the festival is entitled "First to Fight" and will move to Poland in February 2008. The second part is called "Behind the Iron Curtain" and the third part is titled "Flames of Hope." Together they will relate this most dramatic period in the history of Poland, which begins with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, a nightmare that did not end until Poland became a democratic state in 1989.

"Polish Paths to Freedom" seeks to tell British viewers about the Polish experience in the 20th Century. For example, although in World War II Britain and Poland were allies, it was a difficult but finally victorious experience for Britain, while the Polish experience was bitter because it was without a happy end.

"One of our tasks is to promote Polish history abroad," said Polish History Museum spokeswoman Katarzyna Kacprzak in a telephone interview with FNE. "With films, we're trying to get to people by the most modern means. It's an important informational as well as artistic tool to tell stories."

The program includes not only feature films but also documentaries offering a wide range of different views about 20th Century events. The Polish History Museum is working in cooperation with Filmoteka Narodowa.

Almost 40 films come from the Imperial War Museum archive, and they are extremely diverse. Some documentary films were created by amateurs, whereas others were made by noted journalists. Featured also are front-line chronicles and artistic impressions.

A number of feature films have been prepared as well by the Polish History Museum and relate key events of the World War II involving the Polish people.

"We have this opportunity because the Imperial War Museum has in its collection lots of documentaries, and this is the first time they will all be shown together," Kacprzak said.

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