Our „Etnofilm. Ethnographic film and recording review” project aims to popularize and broaden access to ethnographic film works and thus also popularize the legacy of Poland’s folk culture. The project is focused on presenting materials from the lesser known movie archives, such as the Educational Films Studio in Lodz.

Despite a relatively extensive collection of ethnographic movies existing since the 30s decade of the 20th century, the genre remains mostly unknown to the wider public. These documentary films are mainly relegated to museum archives, occasionally being used in workshops or ever so rare specialist film reviews.

With Etnofilm we hope to bring these works outside the museum walls, and return them to the spaces from which they originate – both those of their professional and amateur creators and provincial villages and towns they depict. At the same time, our preparations include obtaining and digitizing the particularly inaccessible works, which should interest even the experienced ethnography and anthropology researchers.

The works presented under the project are as varied as the phenomena, works and local cultures they depict. We will be presenting the works of both amateurs and professionals, from raw, unedited recordings of craftsman techniques to more interpretative forms, based on pre-written scenarios – and sometimes even spontaneous recordings that surprised even their authors!

We hope for Etnofilm to become an impulse to discuss not only ethnography itself, but also the ways of documenting it on film, the spaces between raw, scientific recordings and artistic film forms, as well as the issues of objectivity and subjectivity of works aiming to bridge the role of scientific documentation and popularizing ethnography.

We believe that by bringing closer together ethnography professionals, folk culture aficionados as well as the rural and small town communities themselves, we will be able to stimulate a discussion on the current state and changes occurring within both the folk culture and its depictions.

During the first edition of the Etnofilm film review, we will present ten documentaries directed by Andrzej Różycki and Witold Żukowski. Due to current epidemiological situation, it will be an on-line event, with film showings, expert commentary and discussion panels conducted online. However, in the following years we hope to turn the project into a series of showing in different towns across Poland, tightening our partnership with various local ethnographic museums.

The films to be presented during the first edition of Etnofilm film review:

Andrzej Różycki

  • 1984: To Fly Away (Ulecieć)
  • 1989: The Infinite of Faraway Roads. Overhearing and Watching Zofia Rydet (Nieskończoność dalekich dróg. Podsłuchana i podpatrzona Zofia Rydet)
  • 1988: Maria Wnęk’s Calvary (Kalwaria Marii Wnęk)
  • 1986: Jarosław Furgała’s Prayer in Wood (Jarosława Furgały modlitwa w drewnie)
  • 1985: Mask, or the World Since Its Beginning (Maska czyli świat od początku)
  • 1980: Nativity Scene in Szczawa (Z szopką w Szczawej)

Witold Żukowski

  • 1968: Sorrowful (Frasobliwy)
  • 1975: The Fair in Leżajsk (Jarmark w Leżajsku)
  • 1976: In a Potter’s Family (W garncarskim rodzie)
  • 1976: The Scupltors of Sieradz Land (Rzeźbiarze Ziemi Sieradzkiej)