Cinema of Poland

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The history of cinema in Poland is almost as long as history of cinematography, and it has universal achievements, even though Polish movies tend to be less commercially available than movies from several other European nations.

From 1955 onwards, the works of directors of the so-called Polish Film School had a great influence on the contemporary trends such as French New Wave, Italian neorealism or even late Classical Hollywood cinema. After World War II, despite censorship, filmmakers like Roman Polański, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Agnieszka Holland, Andrzej Wajda, Andrzej Żuławski impacted the development of the cinematography. In the most recent years, while no longer and struggling with censorship, and with a large number of independent filmmakers of all genres, the Polish productions tend to be more inspired by the American film.



Early history

The first cinema in Poland (then occupied by the Russian Empire) was founded in Łódź in 1899, several years after the invention of the Cinematograph. Initially dubbed Living Pictures Theatre, it gained much popularity and by the end of the next decade there were cinemas in almost every major town of Poland. Arguably the first Polish filmmaker was Kazimierz Prószyński, who filmed various short documentaries in Warsaw. His pleograph film camera has been patented already before the Lumière brothers' invention and he is credited as the author of the earliest surviving Polish documentary titled Ślizgawka w Łazienkach (Skating-rink in the Royal Baths), as well as the first short narrative films Powrót birbanta (Rake's return home) and Przygoda dorożkarza (Cabman's Adventure), both created in 1902. Another pioneer of cinema was Bolesław Matuszewski, who became one of the first filmmakers working for the Lumière company - and the official "cinematographer" of the Russian tsars in 1897.

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