Jerzy Skolimowski Films Playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center


From the Gene Siskel Film Center—


Jerzy Skolimowski:

Desire and Displacement

“From July 3 through 29, the Gene Siskel Film Center in cooperation with the Polish Cultural Institute, presents Jerzy Skolimowski: Desire and Displacement, a selection of six films representing the Polish productions of director/screenwriter Skolimowski’s multinational career.

The series ranges from his best-known film as screenwriter, Roman Polanski’s KNIFE IN THE WATER (1962), and as his earliest directorial efforts, including IDENTIFICATION MARKS: NONE (1965), WALKOVER (1965), BARRIER (1966), to the previously censored HANDS UP! (1967/1981). FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA (2008) represents the director’s return to filmmaking after a seventeen-year hiatus. Born in 1938 in Lódz, Poland, Jerzy Skolimowski’s early life was marked by the brutality of war (among other things, his father, a member of the Resistance, was executed by the Nazis). His wide-ranging interests encompassed filmmaking, acting, poetry, painting, and jazz, and he came of age artistically in the postwar era that also produced director Roman Polanski and jazz composer Krzysztof Komeda, and was dominated by the work of Poland’s premier postwar filmmaker Andrzej Wajda. Identified with the Polish New Wave of the 1960s, his visually inventive early work demonstrated a broad satirical streak and a tendency to the surreal, even as it epitomized the drifting lassitude of a generation facing an uncertain future.

In a loose trilogy consisting of IDENTIFICATION MARKS: NONE, WALKOVER, and HANDS UP!, Skolimowski cast himself as the anti-hero, the footloose, disaffected Andrzej Leszczyc, whose character–made up of equal parts alienation, longing, and sullen rebellion–was recognized as iconic among Poland’s youth. HANDS UP! brought the director censorship problems, and the film was suppressed until he reworked it with new footage and under changed circumstances in the 1980s.

Skolimowski subsequently opted for artistic freedom outside of Poland, establishing a career as a kind of filmmaking vagabond, producing highly acclaimed work that would include DEEP END, MOONLIGHTING, THE SHOUT, and KING, QUEEN, KNAVE in a variety of European co-production combinations. He abandoned filmmaking altogether in the 1990s, to concentrate on painting and other visual arts endeavors. Skolimowski returned to filmmaking with FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA, which opened the Directors Fortnight section of the Cannes International Film Festival in 2008. On that triumphant occasion, he announced, ‘To those who like me–I’m back. And to those who don’t like me–I’m back.'”

Dates and showtimes are as follows:

1965, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, 70 min.
With Jerzy Skolimowski, Aleksandra Zawieruszanka

Mon, Jul 4th at 3:15pm

1962, Roman Polanski, Poland, 94 min.
With Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka

Mon, Jul 4th at 4:45pm
Wed, Jul 6th at 8:45pm

1985, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, 76 min.
With Jerzy Skolimowski, Joanna Szczerbic

Fri, Jul 8th at 6:15pm

1965, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, 73 min.
With Jerzy Skolimowski, Elzbieta Czyzewska

Fri, Jul 15th at 6:15pm

1966, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, 77 min.
With Jan Nowicki, Joanna Szczerbic

Fri, Jul 22nd at 6:15pm

2008, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland/France, 87 min.
With Artur Steranko, Kinga Preis

Fri, Jul 29th at 6:00pm

For Descriptions of individual movies and information on getting tickets visit

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