Mój Nikifor
(My Nikifor)
a film written & directed by Krzysztof Krauze
Courtesy of the Polish Embassy

The Polish Embassy will give a taste of the country’s
famous Bison Vodka Cocktail, while
Ambassador Bogdan Goralczyk and his wife, Krysstina,
will be serving up their own home-made Polish cakes.

Thursday, September 13 at 8:00 pm
Cover charge for non-members: 150 Baht

Among the oddest eccentrics to have sprung from the drab landscape of communist Eastern Europe was an extarordinary Polish folk artist who lived from 1895 to 1968, and who called himself Nikifor. Self-taught, with extraordinary visual intuition, he produced at least three works a day for more than 60 years, leaving behind nearly 40,000 when he died.

Set mainly in the early 1960s, this film by acclaimed Polish Director Krzysztof Krauze is an exploration of the complex and uneasy relationship between Nikifor and Marian, a state-funded artist paid to produce Communist Party banners and socialist-realist portraits. That relationship begins when the disheveled, diseased and virtually incoherent Nikifor stumbles into Marian’s studio in Krynica, begins drawing and sketching, and refuses to leave. As the weeks go by, though, the old man’s naïve and vibrant art becomes increasingly interesting to Marian, whose own work looks sterile and insipid by comparison.

Eventually, Marian begins to abandon his own career and place in the Stalinist pecking order, finding satisfaction for his own artistic ambitions through the old man’s work. Finally, when Nikifor’s chronic ill health is diagnosed as tuberculosis, Marian sacrifices his own marriage to look after him.

My Nikifor is a sensitive and sensational film, exploring the nature and depth of compassion and artistic compulsion. Most extraordinary, is the outstanding performance of 87-year old Polish actress Krystyna Feldman in the male lead as Nikifor.

The film won the Crystal Globe at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film festival, the Gold Hugo for Best Picture and Silver Hugo for Best Actor, at the Chicago International Film Festival, as also a clutch of awards from the Polish Film Association and the Polish Film Festival, too numerous to name - best actress, best director, and and a host of other film festival honors.

Don’t miss this movie – another winner in our series on the best of contemporary world cinema. And to set an authentic Polish tone for the movie, the Polish Embassy will give our movie-goers a taste of the country’s famous Bison Vodka Cocktail, while Ambassador Bogdan Goralczyk and his wife Krysstina will be serving up their own home-made Polish cakes.

Abre los ojos
(Open Your Eyes)
a film written and directed by
Alejandro Amenábar
with Eduardo Noriega and Penélope Cruz
Courtesy of the Spanish Embassy

Wednesday, September 19 at 8:00 pm
Cover charge for non-members: 150 Baht

One of the most intelligent, audacious, complex and original films to emerge from the 1998 Sundance Festival, Open Your Eyes is only the second feature film made by young Spanish director and writer Alejandro Amenábar. But he has created a master thriller that seamlessly blends so many genres that it defies categorization; it is at once melodrama, romance, film noir and a cautionary tale. Yet throughout, Open Your Eyes is a supremely thought-provoking movie that challenges its audience’s expectations at every turn.

The story revolves around Cesar, a wealthy, self-centered, handsome dilettante who takes pride in never sleeping with the same woman twice, until he meets Sofia. Completely smitten, he sets out to make her his. Unfortunately, Nuria, a woman with whom Cesar has had his usual brief fling, becomes enraged with jealous anger when he rejects her. While driving with him, she deliberately crashes the car, killing herself and seriously injuring Cesar.

He survives, but at a price: his good looks, around which he has built his life and his personality, are gone, damaged beyond surgical repair, and he must hide behind an expressionless plastic mask. Sofia, once gentle and loving, becomes cold and hard as Cesar struggles to cope with his blinding, impotent, frustrated rage.

Yet dramatic as this is, it’s only the backdrop for a labyrinthine thriller that has so many twists and turns that viewers are left guessing until the very last minute.

Open Your Eyes collected a massive trove of awards from the Berlin and Tokyo international film festivals, and was nominated in virtually every category of the Goya Awards, Spain’s Oscars. It became Hollywood buzz when Cameroon Crowe remade the story as Vanilla Sky; its director, Alejandro Amenábar, having already made a name there with The Sea Inside, which took the 1995 Oscar for best foreign film.

Don’t miss this stunning picture, and with it the opportunity to see the early work of a brilliant young Spanish director.

La Comunidad

(Common Wealth)

a film written and directed by Álex de la Iglesia
Courtesy of the Spanish Embassy

Thursday, September 27 at 8:00 pm

Cover charge for non-members (movie only): 150 Baht

Screening preceded at 7:00 pm by Spanish wine

and a selection of authentic tapas,
courtesy of the Embassy of Spain’s
Commercial Section (Vinos de España)
and Tapas Café Spanish Bar & Restaurant
for members: 50 Baht; for non-members: 150 Baht

Middle-aged real estate agent Julia Garcia is showing an apartment in Madrid. It’s a little run-down outside but inside, it’s fabulous. So much so that Julia decides that as long as she’s got the keys, she might as well invite her husband over for a few days, hoping the change of place will re-ignite her marriage.

When the ceiling starts to crack and rain down cockroaches, though, Julia pokes around and finds, to her surprise and dismay, the rotting corpse of the previous tenant. The stiff is removed but, still poking around, she and her husband find a fortune in cash stashed under the floorboards. They decide to keep it but getting it out of the building will be tough, as the other inhabitants have taken a sudden interest in everything Julia does. They, it turns out, also know about the money and have a deal to split it up among themselves if anybody finds it.

From this setup, director Álex de la Iglesia (who made his name as a cult director with Day of the Beast and Dance with the Devil, two wildly successful farces) extracts a clever and engaging black comic fantasy that serves up both real laughs and thrills.

The movie has collected a huge cache of awards including Spanish Cinema Writers Circle honors, the Special Jury Prize at the Cognac Festival du Film Policier, best picture at Fotogramas de Plata, and a nomination for the Golden Star at the Marrakech International Film Festival.

The screening will also provide an opportunity to sample lovely Spainish wines, courtesy of the Spanish Embassy’s Commercial Section (Vinos de España), with a light meal of authentic tapas, made and served fresh by Tapas Café Spanish Bar and Restaurant. Make an evening of it, as you eat, drink and enjoy another award-winning film in our continuing series on the best of contemporary world cinema.