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Polish fest includes premiere of Chicago migration film

Men toil Chicago woodworking company populated by Poles an image seen “The Fourth Partition” documentary screening Friday.

Men toil in a Chicago woodworking company populated by Poles in an image seen in “The Fourth Partition,” a documentary screening Friday.

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When: Friday through Nov. 24

Where: Muvico Rosemont 18, 9701 Bryn Mawr, Rosemont; Society for Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee; Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton

Tickets : $10-$22 (opening night gala $85)

Info: (773) 486-9612;

Updated: December 9, 2013 9:26AM

The 25th Polish Film Festival in America offers a strong sampling of recent Polish cinema. The 17-day fest will screen 29 dramas, 30 documentaries and nine shorts at three venues.

Of particular local interest is the world premiere of Adrian Prawica’s “The Fourth Partition.” This Chicago-made documentary looks at 4 million Poles coming to Chicago between 1870 and 1920 after Russia, Austria and Germany partitioned Poland off the map.

Political history and cultural figures supply worthy subjects: Hitler’s attack at Westerplatte, the Warsaw Uprising, Poles exiled to Siberia, Czech protestor Jan Palach, Roma poet Papusza, Nobel literature laureate Czeslaw Milosz and Belorussian rocker and blogger Frank Viachorka, who will appear with “Viva Belarus.”

Touted as “the largest and most significant annual showcase of Polish films outside of Poland,” the fest offers second chances to catch Polish titles that recently screened here, including the corporate thriller “The Closed Circuit.” Other recommended dramas appeared last month at the Chicago International Film Festival: “Floating Skyscrapers,” “In the Name of ...,” “Lasting,” “Life Feels Good,” “Papusza” and the vivid biopic “Walesa, Man of Hope,” directed by famed auteur Andrzej Wajda.

The opening night gala (7 p.m. Saturday, Muvico Rosemont 18) presents “Walesa, Man of Hope,” Poland’s entry for an Oscar as best foreign language film. Alizma, a trio of violinist-vocalist triplets, will perform. A reception follows at the Society for Arts, the festival’s headquarters at 1112 N. Milwaukee.

Through Dec. 15, you can visit there a curious exhibition called “Doodles.” See what former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski drew during his meetings with heads of state.

Brzezinski is lauded in the documentary “The Strategist.” Better fare is “The Palace,” Tomasz Wolski’s irony-laced documentary on the cultural edifice Stalin built in Warsaw. The silent era is represented by Ryszard Ordynski’s 1928 drama “Pan Tadeusz” from the National Film Archives in Warsaw.

A highly recommended drama is “Imagine,” a lyrical story of the blind leading the blind shot in Lisbon. Director Andrzej Jakimowski dedicates his film to a sightless California teen who navigated by making clicking sounds and listening to their echos. Also worth a look are Sławomir Fabicki’s “Loving,” about a professional couple dealing with a new baby, and Eugeniusz Korin’s “The Vulture,” a nasty thriller about payback by organ transplants.

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