Gorski and Kaufman Bros & Sistas: Dreamlike History of Cinema in Podlasie

The dreamlike history of cinema in Podlasie is an expedition into the past with the protagonists of 40 photographs. The photos, taken in the archaic wet collodion technique, feature Academy Award winners and nominees, i.e. Andrzej Wajda, Boris Kaufman and Benjamin Zemach, documentary cinema icon Dziga Vertov or famous pre-war actresses Nora Ney, Renata Radojewska and Tola Mankiewiczówna. There are Yiddish cinema and theater stars Mina Bern and Miriam Kressin, prominent film music composers Mischa Spoliansky, who discovered Marlene Dietrich, and Jay Gorney, who introduced Shirley Temple to film. Also, we can see an extraordinary costume and set designer Aleksandra Ekster, one of the leading cinematographers of Polish cinema Albert Wywerka or an inventor Piotr Lebiedzinski, who competed with the Lumiere brothers themselves!

What did they have in common? They were all born in Bialystok or Podlasie and had a real impact on the history of Polish but also world cinema!

For the purposes of the exhibition, the characters from the past were impersonated by contemporary artists and filmmakers, also connected with Podlasie, including actresses and actors, directors, costume designers, producers, composers, theater artists and musicians.

The idea for the exhibition and the entire project was born in 2021 in the minds of the Kaufman Bros & Sistas collective: PhD Tomasz Adamski (a film scholar from the University of Bialystok and an independent filmmaker), Maciej Rant (an independent filmmaker and artistic director of the ŻUBROFFKA film festival), and Andrzej Górski (a photographer and reconstructor of 19th-century photography).

The summary of the project is a unique album “Dreamlike History of Cinema in Podlasie”, published in October 2022, with a special introduction by a film critic Lukasz Maciejewski. Karolina Korwin Piotrowska and Lukasz Maciejewski in Canal Plus’ “Film News” ranked the album as one of the most interesting film books of 2022. Bialystok Culture Center is the producer of the exhibition and publisher of the album – the album and exhibition were made as part of two editions of the East of Culture/Other Dimension Festival in 2021 and 2022.

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