Polish film masterpieces at St. Anthony Main; library card art contest

Courtesy of Milestone Films
A scene from Andrzej Wajda’s “Ashes and Diamonds” (1958), part of “Masterpieces of Polish Cinema.”

When the Twin Cities Polish Festival opens next weekend, filling Old Main Street in Minneapolis with music, dance, performing artists, an evening of European-style disco, polka performances, Polish food and beer, Polish sheep dogs and activities including a pierogi eating contest and a Polish vodka tasting, the Film Society’s St. Anthony Main Theater will be hosting the largest presentation of restored Polish cinema to date.

Created, organized and curated by Martin Scorsese, the “Masterpieces of Polish Cinema” retrospective series includes 21 films spanning the period 1957–87, all digitally remastered and restored, with new English subtitles. Highlights include “Black Cross” (1960), the first Polish historical blockbuster and most-viewed Polish movie of all time; two films by Krzysztof Kieslowski, “Blind Chance” (1981) and his Cannes-winning “A Short Film About Killing” (1988), a feature-length version of the fifth episode in his landmark television series “The Decalogue” (which Roger Ebert loved so much he taught a class on it); and Scorsese’s personal favorite, Andrzej Wajda’s “Ashes and Diamonds” (1958), the final installment in Wajda’s War Trilogy.

The series’ centerpiece is the appearance Thursday, Aug. 14 of Polish auteur Krzysztof Zanussi, who will present three of his contemporary dramas, “The Illumination” (1972), “Camouflage” (1976), and “The Constant Factor” (1980). Zanussi will introduce each film and stick around for Q&As after. FMI, showtimes and tickets ($8–$10). Here’s Scorsese’s introduction to “the great, sweeping, humanistic, intimate and profound films that were an integral part of what, looking back, seems more and more like the golden age of international cinema.” Now that’s a ringing endorsement.

For artists: Applications are open for this year’s MCBA/Jerome Foundation Book Arts Mentorships, an artist development program that introduces book arts to emerging artists whose primary medium is in another discipline. (For example, poets, composers, painters, and choreographers may apply.) Artists selected for the mentorship receive $2,000 for materials and project costs, basic book arts training, free tuition for workshops, and more, with the goal of creating new work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary book arts. Applications are due Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 by 11:59 p.m. FMI.

How can we use art to interpret science in the public realm? The Bell Museum’s Residential Artist Research Project (RARP) program gives artists a chance to explore that question. Writers, poets, storytellers, dancers, map-makers, musicians, painters, and more are invited to apply. Four residencies are available. FMI.

If you live, work or go to school in St. Paul, here’s your chance to help design something truly useful: a library card. The St. Paul Public Library is holding a Library Card Art Contest. Five winners will be chosen, and they’ll all have their choice of a $100 gift card from either Micawber’s or Cossetta’s. The new cards will be available starting in November. FMI

The Picks

Tonight (Friday, Aug. 1) at Sheridan Memorial Park in NE Minneapolis: Riverfront Fest. Explore Minneapolis’ newest park at a neighborhood party with live music, food trucks, craft beer, kids’ activities and water acrobatics. Park features include a reflecting pool, peace gardens, and a memorial honoring all Minnesota veterans — a large, spherical structure of protective shields, created by local artist Robert Smart. 5:30 p.m.–sunset, 1300 Water Street NE.

Tonight at the Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space in St. Paul: Really Short Film Festival: “What is MN?” In July, the MMAA issued a call for short — very short — family-friendly videos on the topic of “What is Minnesota to you?” The six-second films selected from those submitted will be shown tonight. 6 p.m. Free.

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Tonight at the Lake Harriet Bandshell: Vita.mn Music & Movies: Nona Marie and Anonymous Choir with “A League of Their Own.” Vita.mn starts its sixth annual Music & Movies series with feminine folkish music and the 1992 hit film about the first female professional baseball league. Go, girls! 7:30 p.m. Free and family-friendly.

Tonight at the George Latimer Center Library in downtown St. Paul: “Wonder Boys.” A free screening of the film based on Michael Chabon’s novel about a college professor and author whose life is spinning out of control. With Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, and Frances McDormand. Third in the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library’s “Writers on Screen” series, which ends next Friday. 90 Fourth St. West, outdoors in the courtyard at dusk.

Saturday at Studio Z in Lowertown: Dennis Gonzalez’s Hymn Project. There’s considerable buzz on the local jazz scene about this event. Based in Dallas, trumpeter/composer/artist Dennis Gonzalez has performed and recorded with a long list of prominent musicians, many in Europe. He’s been working on his Hymn Project for decades, dedicating individual compositions – based on religious melodies from America, South Africa and Norway – to his biggest influences, musicians like Don Cherry, Albert Ayler, and King Sunny Ade. At Studio Z, he’ll perform with saxophonists Nathan Hanson and Brandon Wozniak, bassist Chris Bates and drummer Pete Hennig, all strong improvisers. We asked Hanson to tell us a bit about Gonzales’ music, in the plainest possible English. “The place he’s coming from is his heart,” Hanson said. “Everything he does has a deep spiritual component. It’s deeply soulful music of the heart.” 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($10), or you can buy them at the door (cash or check only).

Sunday at Franconia Sculpture Park: 18th Annual Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour. Watch professional sculptors make metal art; create a mold that will become your own cast-iron sculpture. About 8,000 pounds of super-hot, glowing liquefied iron will be poured throughout the day. Savage Aural Hotbed — the contemporary “found object” percussion band — will perform at 12:30, 2:30, and 4 p.m. Food and drinks are available for purchase. If you want to buy a sand mold ($25, $40, or $75, depending on size), get there bright and early. 10 a.m.–8 p.m. 29836 St. Croix Trail, Franconia, MN. FMI.

Sunday at the Mall of America: Minnesota Renaissance Festival Preview Party. A peek at the entertainment and characters of this year’s Ren Fest, plus free crafts and ticket giveaways. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. in the Rotunda. The festival begins Aug. 16 in Shakopee.

Monday in Loring Park: the Walker’s Summer Music & Movies series kicks off with music by The Cloak Ox, followed by a screening of “High Noon.” This summer’s theme is “playing with time,” in honor of the Walker’s exhibition “Christian Marclay: The Clock.” Music starts at 7 p.m., movies at dusk (about 8:45 p.m.). Free.

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