ALEKSANDER FORD RETROSPECTIVE: MIR KUMEN ON / Droga młodych
dir. ALEKSANDER FORD, POLAND, 1936, 45 min
A rare occasion to see this film by Aleksander Ford, made before the war, in Yiddish. Financed by the “Bund” Socialist party, this documentary with elements of fiction was made in a sanatorium for Jewish children in Miedzeszyn. It tells the story of the children’s return to health and of the rebuilding of human bonds. When it first screened, the film was charged with “containing scenes that feed on the misery of the masses and promote communist ideas under the guise of humanitarianism and modern child rearing methods”, subsequently condemned to oblivion. It was nonetheless shown during private screenings before the war, and after it, a short version of the film was created.
SPECIAL EVENT: ALEKSANDER FORD RETROSPECTIVE
Aleksander Ford - a man of contradiction. A pre-war socialist, he became a protege of the communist regime after the war. Highly regarded for his outstanding artistic achievements (his Piątka z ulicy Barskiej received the Jury Prize in Cannes), he was the first to have adapted Sienkiewicz for the screen. In 1960, he made a grand-scale production of Krzyżacy (Knights of the Teutonic Order), a work that became nearly as important for Poles as Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz.
Ford was born in Łódź as Mosze Lifszyc. For two decades he taught at the Film School in Łódź, where his students included Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polański. He made over twenty films and built the institutional base of Polish cinematography. At the same time, he was known as the Colonel - his works were often shelved, but he also censored the films of his colleagues, blocking ideas and holding back scripts.
After the antisemitic purge of 1968 - 45 years ago - he was barred from creative work. He left the country a year later. It was often said that he would have been one of the fathers of Hollywood had he left for the United States in the 1920s - but at the beginning of the 70s he could hardly find his place there. He committed suicide in Florida in 1980.