Wednesday, 10 September 2008
first look at polish cult classic
ACMI Cinemas Presents
The Saragossa Manuscript (Rekopis znaleziony w Saragossie)
Thursday 30th October - Sunday 2nd November
A bizarre counterculture rarity of 1960s Polish cinema, The Saragossa Manuscript, is premiering as part of ACMIs First Look program this October.
Set in the 18th Century, this surreal 'head-trip' encompasses salacious ghosts, comic cuckolded husbands, mad mystics and sadomasochistic grotesques of the Spanish inquisition.
The story goes; aristocratic young hero Captain Alphonse (Zibigniew Cybulski) discovers a magical manuscript and is thrust into a fantastical 'story within a story' labyrinthine puzzle of supernatural adventure.
"The Saragossa Manuscript is an exciting piece of cinema. The arresting black and white cinemascope imagery and a score by composer Krzysztof Penderecki combine to elevate this cinematic vision of Jan Potocki's epic novel to legendary status," says ACMIs First Look curator, Amree Hewitt.
The recently restored film is also an imported 35mm print of the full length directors cut. Directors Martin Scorcese, Francis Ford Coppola, Luis Buñuel and musician Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead) have at various times cited The Saragossa Manuscript as their favourite film. Both Scorcese and Garcia helped in the restoration and reissue of this rare European fantasy epic, which is now produced in dedication to Garcia who sadly did not live to see the completion of the restoration.
Zibigniew Cybulski (Andrzej Wadja's Ashes & Dimonds) was a young actor who died tragically in 1967 and is often referred to as the Polish James Dean.
This Australian premiere is presented by ACMI Cinemas as part of its First Look program, described as "invaluable" by The Sunday Age. Programmed monthly, First Look aims to present exclusive screenings of superb new films and restored classics that audiences cannot see anywhere else.
Unclassified 18+, Wojcieck Has, 182 mins, Poland, 1965, 35mm, B&W Cinemascope, Polish with English subtitles. Courtesy: Contemporary Films, UK
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