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English Section

Warsaw film festival turns spotlight on German and Soviet totalitarianism

22.10.2020 12:00
The “Echoes of Katyn” International Film Festival opens in Warsaw on Thursday, aiming to turn the spotlight on 20th-century German and Soviet totalitarianism.
Echoes of Katyn: Festival awards on display during a news conference promoting the event in Warsaw on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.
"Echoes of Katyn:" Festival awards on display during a news conference promoting the event in Warsaw on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.Photo: PAP/Wojciech Olkuśnik

Ten films, both features and documentaries, by directors from Poland, Estonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia and Romania, are in the festival’s main competition.

All of them deal with various aspects of the functioning of the German and Soviet totalitarian systems and their influence on societies in 20th-century Europe.

The Little Comrade, for instance, looks at the Soviet totalitarian regime in Estonia through the eyes of children, while Women of the Gulag focuses on the plight of women serving terms in Soviet labour camps.

One of the festival events is the screening of Polmission: The Mysteries of Passports, a Polish documentary by Jacek Papis that focuses on the efforts of a group of Polish wartime diplomats based in Bern, Switzerland, who fabricated passports for Jews from ghettos in German-occupied Poland to save them from the Holocaust.

The festival, organized by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), runs until Sunday.

It includes panel debates and meetings with filmmakers and historians. Most of these events will be held online.

The “Echoes of Katyn” festival was launched a decade ago as a national event. This year, it went international for the first time to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Katyn Forest massacre of Polish officers in Soviet Russia during World War II.

More info at ipn.gov.pltotalitaryzmy.pl