November 22, 2014
Landing in Warsaw
The 8th Sputnik Russian Film Festival begins in Warsaw on 20 November with almost only the latest productions in the programme. Never in the last 25 years has Russian culture enjoyed such popularity in Poland as it does now. Tickets for the recent Kolada Festival were sold out in a flash and films that have caused a stir like Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan” or Alexandr Veledinsky’s “The Geographer Drank His Globe Away” are on at the cinemas. “It is only journalists who ask about politics,” says Małgorzata Szlagowska-Skulska, director of Sputnik. Not a single institution has withdrawn from the event, we have even more partners than last year. In our conversations with Russian artists not a word was spoken about the current international situation. It would suit many politicians to see the festival cancelled. Russian cinematography is flourishing; the Russians have long overcome their financial crisis and the production chaos characteristic of the early 1990s. They now make approximately 300 films annually: from social drama and love stories to disaster films and science fiction, to which a special section is dedicated at Sputnik. After 1989, as a result of an aversion to anything eastern and a predilection for everything American, Russian films all but disappeared from Polish cinemas. The Sputnik Russian Film Festival has been trying to fill this gap for eight years now.Nearly 100 films will be shown at the festival at the end of November. Whereas previously the event partially served to reminisce about some USSR productions, this time the organisers have opted for newer films. The directors are people born in the ’60s, 70s, or even ‘80s, who grew up after the USSR had collapsed. According to Szlagowska-Skulska, Russian films shown at Sputnik focus mainly on social issues which are not discussed in Poland. Numerous films that will be presented at the festival were bought through companies from France and Germany that invest in Russian cinematography and own the distribution rights.
November 21, 2014
Poland’s Greatest Export
As many as a quarter of a million specialists across Europe changed their place of residence in the period 2003-2013 in order to find work. Poland lost the greatest number of workers. “40,000 highly qualified Polish people left home in order to find a job abroad. The most popular destinations for these new immigrants were Great Britain, Germany and Belgium. More than 50% of those who left specialised in professions in the healthcare industry,” we read in Gazeta Wyborcza. Unfortunately, it seems that Poland will not replace these people anytime soon – only 2,000 specialists have arrived in Poland from other countries of the EU to find work. When it comes to countries outside the EU, mainly Ukrainians come to Poland to work in agriculture.
November 20, 2014
They only eat a special kind of bamboo, are 9 months old and have already won our heartd – red pandas have moved into Łódź zoo. The pandas only arrived in Łódź on Tuesday, and one could already have the chance of seeing them on Thursday. “They are still a little stressed and shy, but every now and then they come out and show themselves,” says Magdalena Janiszewska, head of the Łódź Municipal Zoo. The red panda is an endangered species. Their fur is used to produce traditional caps in Nepal, which are given to newly-married couples as a good luck talisman. The tradition is not as lucky for the pandas themselves, who are close to extinction. The term panda is most often associated with the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) but they have nothing in common with the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) except for the name and a predilection for bamboo, which makes up 90% of a red panda’s diet. They also eat eggs, small birds and mammals as well as insects. They live in the Himalayas.
November 20, 2014
Thaddeus Kosciuszko – US Hero
The presence of Polish people had a positive impact on the history of the US from its very earliest days, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. They arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1609 on board the “Mary and Margaret”. In Virginia, Polish craftsmen established a glass factory, the first ever workshop in America. Later in 1619 following a strike, Polish people received the right to vote for colonists not born in Great Britain. Interestingly, in 1370 Poland was the first country in Europe to establish a requirement for taxpayers to agree to taxes being levied. 400 years later, under the banner of “no taxation without representation”, American colonists rebelled against Great Britain. The 1776 Anerican Declaration of Independence was based on the philosophy of John Locke, which was greatly shaped by Locke’s knowledge of the Polish Brothers (Arians); their volume was entitled “Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum”. When the Americans formulated their Constitution in 1787 they were acutely aware of the ill effects of foreign influences on the politics of Poland with the election of foreign kings to the throne of Poland. Thus, they highlighted that only those born in the USA can stand for President. The Polish military leader Tadeusz Kościuszko played a key role in the battle for US independence. He was one of only a few foreigners to receive the Cincinnati Medal. Kościuszko studied military engineering in France. After two years in Poland and then France he was convinced by Bejamin Franklin to go to America. There he was made a colonel by a resolution of Congress on 18 October 1776. To this day, Kościuszki is seen as one of the great heroes of US Independence.
November 19, 2014
Oscar for Ida?
Appointed by the Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the Polish Oscar Committee has unanimously selected the movie “Ida”, directed by Paweł Pawlikowski as Poland’s Oscar nomination in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category. “We had no doubt that ‘Ida’ has the greatest chance in this competitive category,” emphasised Agnieszka Ordowicz, director of the Polish Film Institute (PISF). “It’s a great movie, which not without reason has gained such appreciation and excellent reviews worldwide. It is also not only a fantastic example of the work of all the people involved in the making of this film, but Polish cinematography in general. The movie received outstanding reviews in the most prestigious American magazines. ‘Ida’ is a highly ranked nominee and is touted for an Academy Award. It arouses the emotions,” said Ordowicz. The Polish Oscar Committee was established on 10 July 2014 by Professor Małgorzata Omilanowska, the Minister of Culture. It includes: Filip Bajon (chairman), Katarzyna Adamik, Jacek Bławut, Michał Komar, Agnieszka Ordowicz, Anda Rottenberg, Janusz Zaorski and Marek Żydowicz. Ida was the committee’s unanimous candidate. “It is good that ‘Ida’ is our nominee this year, not last year,” said the director of PISF.
November 16, 2014
According to an EY report, 62% of Polish internet users are digital consumers. This means that they buy products and services online. EY claims that India has the highest number of digital consumers in the world (75%). The Netherlands and China occupy second place in the league table (both with 70%). However, the opposite tendency is observed among internet users in Switzerland (45%), Belgium (47%), Austria (47%) and the USA (50%). Analysts draw attention to the fact that the highest percentage of digital consumers are concentrated in developing countries. Barbara Górska, head of the Marketing department of EY, explains that this is due to different a variety of cultural conditions and shopping models. Among the surveyed nations, Polish people tend to express their scepticism towards the possibility of replacing personal contact with the virtual. However, they remain loyal to mobile providers and media. The research was carried out in 34 counties and more than 29,000 people participated.