Homeland defended at Polish Film Festival in America

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<blockquote><strong>26TH POLISH FILM FESTIVAL IN AMERICA</strong>

<strong>When:</strong> Through Nov. 23

<strong>Where:</strong> Muvico Rosemont 18, 9701 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont; Society for Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee; Facets, 1517 W. Fullerton

<strong>Tickets:</strong> $10-$14; multifilm passes available

<strong>Info:</strong> (773) 486-9612; www.pffamerica.com

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The 26th Polish Film Festival in America is an impassioned showcase for the cinema of one nation. Invading Swedes, Germans and Russians drive plots about resisting and redeeming Poles. “Based on a true story” dramas salute a plane hijacker uplifted by NASA’s lunar landing, a Cold War CIA collaborator and a chain-smoking heart transplanter.

“Gods,” the opening night biopic about Dr. Zbigniew Religa, is sold out. But tickets remain for the closing night’s “Secret Sharer” on Nov. 23. Former Chicago banker Peter Fudakowski makes his writing-directing debut by updating Joseph Conrad’s 1910 novella. Documentaries, animated works and children’s films also screen at the festival’s three venues: a Rosemont multiplex and two cinematheques in Chicago.

For espionage fans there’s “Jack Strong.” Wladyslaw Pasikowski dramatizes a Polish colonel leaking anti-NATO tactics to the U.S. (8:45 p.m. Saturday at Facets). Jacek Bromski sets his “Ticket to the Moon” in 1969, as a virginal conscript detours to West Berlin (5:45 p.m. Sunday, Facets). The assaultive “The Mighty Angel” details the wretched retching of abject alcoholics. Director Wojciech Smarzowski tracks a writer trying to find the words for his cursed thirst. (7:30 p.m. Monday, Muvico; 8:45 p.m. Nov. 12, Facets).

Many titles were not made available for preview, like the one making this weird and utterly wrong claim: “ ‘Warsaw Uprising’ is the world’s first feature film made entirely from documentary materials.” Dramas set during the 1944 Nazi occupation include “City 44” and “Stones for the Rampart,” which starts with teens setting off stink bombs in a Warsaw cinema showing a Pola Negri film. Director Robert Glinski then gets grisly when occupiers torture the young patriots. (8:45 p.m. Monday, Facets).

Jon Holoubek’s “Postcards from the Republic of Absurd” is a 45-minute fake doc set in a what-if 2014 Warsaw wherein Solidarity did not win (7:30 p.m. Nov. 14, Muvico). The premise recalls the films “It Happened Here” (what if Hitler occupied England?) and “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America” (what if the Civil War ended very differently?). In a symbolic short titled “The Shadow of the Forest,” Andrzej Cichocki allusively links a wolf, a boy and his lady bug, and a pack of Nazis unleashing their German Shepherds to chase Jews through the trees. (8:45 p.m. Nov. 13, Gallery; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19, Muvico).

The fest’s best may be two films that earlier screened elsewhere this year: Paweł Pawlikowski’s “Ida” (7:30 p.m. Nov. 19, Muvico) and James Gray’s “The Immigrant” (8 p.m. Nov. 10, Gallery) are highly recommended stories with insightfully drawn women.

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