Polish Animator Mariusz Wilczyński’s Kill It and Leave This Town Premieres in the US

Kill It and Leave This Town is available for streaming between November 25 and December 8, 2020, for a rental price of $12 at vimeo.com.

Co-presented by Anthology Film Archives, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, and Outsider Pictures, and representing its North American premiere run, this two-week virtual engagement will be supplemented by a program of Wilczyński’s earlier short films.

As a creator of animated films and as a painter, cartoonist, set designer and performer, Wilczyński’s work presents a range of styles – and features films at once bittersweet and sardonic.

Mariusz ‘Wilk’ Wilczynski was born in 1964. He graduated from the Painting and Graphics Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź in 1986. His films have been shown at top festivals in Poland, in Melbourne, Terme and Bologna in Italy, Chicago, and at Midem, Cannes, and solo screenings in Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Milan, Vilnius, Sydney and Toronto.

He is best known for the Chaplinesque Times Have Passed (1998), and Unfortunately (2004), a twilight journey set to a haunting score by Polish jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stańko – a film that won the Golden Hugo award for Best Animation at the 2005 Chicago International Film Festival. In 2007 he made Kizi Mizi (2007), which he has described as ‘a tough love story between a cat and a mouse… a film about loneliness, betrayal, and revenge’.

It took him 14 years to make the full-lenght animation film Kill It and Leave This Town  and it premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on 22 February 2020, where it will be shown as part of the Encounters competition. The description on the Berlinale website reads:

A moving, dreamlike journey into a bizarre fantasy world full of past emotions. Mariusz Wilczyński has turned his attention to his own biography and bares all. Rummaging irreverently and uninhibitedly through his own personal and collective memory, he populates the streets, trams and shops of the industrial city of Lodz with characters, scraps of memory and catchy tunes that take us back to his childhood world of the 1960s and 1970s. (…) Wilczyński pushes the style and poetry of his shorter films, which oscillate between children’s drawings and Gothic aesthetics, to the extreme, testing the limits of what can be projected by using every imaginable nuance between grey and black. The cinema becomes a cave in which the audience can give free rein to their own memories, too, and face them with wide open eyes.

The music score for the film was composed by late Tadeusz Nalepa and voice- overs were provided esteemed actors: Krystyna Janda, Andrzej Chyra, Maja Ostaszewska, Małgorzata Kożuchowska, Barbara Krafftówna, Anna Dymna, Marek Konrad, Daniel Olbrychski, Gustaw Holoubek, Irena Kwiatkowska as well as director Andrzej Wajda and jazz musician Tomasz Stańko.

The winner of the Jury Distinction Award at the Annecy International Film Festival, the Grand Prize for Feature Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, and a FIPRESCI Award at the 2020 Viennale, it is a hauntingly surreal meditation on aging, mortality, and loss. Adopting an intentionally threadbare visual style that makes visible the traces of its own creation, Wilczyński transmutes heavily autobiographical elements into a radically shape-shifting form in which outer reality and inner consciousness collapse into each other, and in which the laws of time, space, and identity are constantly in flux.

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