• Jill Godmilow, Far from Poland, 1984

Far from Poland is the most important film by the American director and theorist Jill Godmilow (b. 1943), inspired by the strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyard in August 1980. It is a groundbreaking work in the history of experimental documentary filmmaking which challenged the conventional ways of building the narrative and pursued reflection on the medium itself and its limitations in representing political events and conflicts. The film about the “Solidarity” trade union became a manifesto of the innovative concept of “dramatary” – a dramatised documentary that inhabits the borderland of non-fiction cinema, feature film and contemporary art.

In August 1980, the artist stayed in Poland to shoot a film about Jerzy Grotowski, and after her return to New York she could no longer count on obtaining another visa. Still, she decided to tell the story of the then nascent “Solidarity” in her film Far from Poland. The main axis of the work is formed by three staged interviews published in 1981 in the Polish press: with Anna Walentynowicz, a censor code-named K62 and a miner, whose figure was created on the basis of several journalistic materials. Godmilow’s re-enactment marks one of the pioneering applications of the now widespread performative strategy. The staged scenes are interlaced with excerpts from reportages from Poland and purely fictional footage.

Year: 1984
Medium: digitized 16mm film (digital betacam)
Format: 110'00'' cm

Acquisition: purchase
Ownership form: collection
Source: Jill Godmilow
Index: MSN: 4300-14/2016
Acquisition date:
Financing source: Cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage under the 'National collections of contemporary art 2016' priority

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