Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Under Communist rule the Polish government encouraged amateur filmmaking as a leisure activity for workers, though these nonprofessionals were, naturally, viewed with skepticism by their professional brethren, who labored under the watchful eye of the government censor and were hardly eager to share their few privileges. Nonetheless, as London-based artists Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings demonstrated in this exhibition, amateur filmmakers in Communist Poland produced an amazing array of 16 mm films that range from witty, short animations and documentaries to engaging mini-epics—along with some artistic duds. Benefiting from an elaborate if informal (but official) support structure, the amateur clubs in which the films were produced and first screened were a true social microcosm, forming a vital grassroots scene. Paradoxically, while most professional Polish films have aged

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