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Poles On Film

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 4, 2005 3:40PM

Did you miss seeing the winner of the Gold Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival last month? If so, you’ve got another chance this weekend.

2005_11_04_nikifor.jpgMy Nikifor took home the golden boy at the CIFF this year and is one of the many films playing at the 17th annual Polish Film Festival in America, which starts this weekend in Chicago and runs through November 20th.

With the largest urban population of Poles outside of Warsaw, Chicago’s claim as rightful host of the fest cannot be denied. The fest starts tomorrow with Solidarity, Solidarity—a series of shorts that explore the Polish labor movement of the same name. Stifle that yawn, Chester: the Solidarity movement helped to lay the groundwork for political and social change in Europe. Were it not for your Northwest side relative’s friends in the old country, the Berlin Wall might still be standing. The film starts at 8 PM at the Gateway Theatre (5216 W. Lawrence) with director Feliks Falk and actor Jan Nowicki making appearances.

Several of the films belie the prejudice that foreign films are too um, foreign, for most moviegoers to enjoy. Wrong Number is a heist caper along the lines of Ocean’s 11, St. Barbara’s Day and My Summer of Love explore culture clashes, and other films explore tales pulled from real life like The Unburied Man and, of course, My Nikifor, which screens on Wednesday the 9th at the Beverly Arts Center and Sunday the 13th at the Gateway. Tickets are $10 per screening ($9 for students) and can be purchased at

Other film offerings in the city this weekend include midnight screenings of short films from Image Union at the Music Box, the final films from the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Select Media Festival Four, the wide release of the excellent The Squid and The Whale and Reeling 2005.