The KINOTEKA Polish Film Festival closes its twelfth edition with the UK premiere of avant-garde film-makers Stephen and Timothy Quay’s latest film Kwartet Smyczkovy, alongside their highly atmospheric and chilling piece In Absentia – with live musical accompaniment from the Arditti Quartet.
Commissioned by the BBC in 1999, In Absentia features an otherworldly composition by experimental music giant Karlheinz Stockhausen. Twenty minutes long, the film combines live action and animation to convey the mindscape of a lost, mad woman writing letters from a bleak cell in the scratchy black-and-white mode of long ago. When the German composer saw it, he was in tears. The film reminded him of his mother, who was imprisoned in a lunatic asylum by the Nazis 70 years before. The film-makers didn't know that.
The Quay Brothers’ new film Kwartet Smyczkovy was inspired by Peter Handke’s one-act play without words The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other and features late Polish composer Lutosławski’s only string quartet, composed in 1964. The Quay Brothers react to the melodic superimpositions and flickering micro-rhythms of the composition with stark and eerie twilit images.
The concert opens with a live performance by Skalpel, a Polish DJ/producer duo from Wrocław formed by Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudło (aka Igor Boxx). Skalpel’s trademark is sampling Polish jazz of the 1960s and 1970s, constructing their own original vision of contemporary sound; combining jazz, hip hop and club music. The duo will present their unique interpretation of Lutosławski and Panufnik’s music to mark these famous composers’ joint centenaries.