Jill Godmilow – Far from Poland; Wael Shawky – Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo (film screenings)

Film screeings are a part of the series of events accompanying the exhibition The State We Are In. Collection of Museum of Modern Art In Warsaw at Galeria Labirynt in Lublin.

screening dates: September 18th (Tuesday), October 4th (Thursday), November 6th (Tuesday)
tickets: PLN 1

5 p.m.

Far from Poland
Release year: 1984
Running time: 106’11”


Far from Poland is the most important film by the American director and theorist Jill Godmilow (born 1943), inspired by the strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyard in August 1980. It is a groundbreaking work in the history of experimental documentary filmmaking which challenged the conventional ways of building the narrative and pursued reflection on the medium itself and its limitations in representing political events and conflicts. The film about the Solidarity trade union became a manifesto of the innovative concept of “dramatary”—a dramatized documentary that inhabits the borderland of non-fiction cinema, feature film and contemporary art. In August 1980, the artist stayed in Poland to shoot a film about Jerzy Grotowski, and after her return to New York she could no longer count on obtaining another visa. Still, she decided to tell the story of the then nascent Solidarity in her film Far from Poland. The main axis of the work is formed by three staged interviews published in 1981 in the Polish press: with Anna Walentynowicz, a censor code-named K62, and a miner, whose figure was created on the basis of several journalistic materials. Godmilow’s re-enactment marks one of the pioneering applications of this now widespread performative strategy. The staged scenes are interlaced with excerpts from reportage from Poland and purely fictional footage.


7 p.m.

Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo
Release year: 2012
Running time: 61’


The film Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo is the latest part of Wael Shawky’s project dedicated to the Crusades, reinterpreted according to Arabic chronicles and historical documents. The source material for the screenplay was Amin Maalouf’s book The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. This hour-long film covers events during the 48 years from the end of the first crusade in 1099 until the beginning of the second in 1147. The film adheres to puppet-show conventions, and contains elements of musicals, popular science programmes, nativity plays, and even horror films. It was made thanks to the artist’s cooperation with a group of over 200 people: musicians, pyrotechnicians, and puppet-makers. All the puppets used in the film (more than 130 figures of Christians, Muslims, kings, caliphs, popes, martyrs and saints) were made at workshops in Provence according to the 18th-century santon technique used to produce clay puppets for nativity plays. The film was recorded at Aubagne Cathedral and premiered at dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel.