New and old films about Nowa Huta in Sfinks Cinema

If you are a fan of the Socialist-Realism District of Krakow, you definitely have to take part in the fourth edition of the Nowa Huta Film Marathon that will be presented in the Sfinks Cinema at Osiedle Gorali this Friday and Saturday.

This small-scale film festival features short films devoted to Nowa Huta as well as several episodes of Nowa Huta newsreels produced since 2004 and presenting people and events in the district. Nowa Huta (the New Steel Mill) was the Communist vision of a working-class industrial city, built on the eastern edge of Krakow in 1949. Poland’s largest steel mill was constructed in Nowa Huta in 1954. In the 1980s, the area became center [for steelworkers’ Solidarity demonstrations against the government. Since the fall of communism, the city that was once a showplace for Stalinism now boasts many tributes to anti-Communists. The small Sfinks Cinema is the youngest and the only one of three theaters in Nowa Huta that has survived.

Swit and Swiatowid closed in the 1990s. Swit now houses several shops. The Film Marathon will start at 20:00 on Friday, and its first part should end shortly after midnight. The first day will feature a film about a famous statue of Lenin which once stood in the middle of the Nowa Huta district. Also scheduled the first day is a documentary about enthusiasts of photography in Nowa Huta, among them the noted film director Krzysztof Zanussi, who once was a member of a local amateur film club. Saturday evening’s film program will also begin at 20:00. Its biggest hit should be a short story of a steelworks worker so devoted to Communist ideals of work that she hasn’t the time to take care of her children.

This film was censored by Polish authorities in the ’50s. A complete schedule of the festival is now available online at: Last year, the festival was organized on pl. Centralny, the main square of Nowa Huta, and more than 3,000 people attended. Even though the fourth Film Marathon will be smaller, its organizers say they are here to stay. Next year’s fifth edition will be a special festival, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sfinks cinema and the Nowa Huta Amateur Film Club.

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