MS SLAVIC 7

By Sofia BOHDANOWICZ, Deragh CAMPBELL

BERLINALE - BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL - as FEST

Drama - Completed 2019


Festivals
& Awards

Berlinale - Berlin IFF 2019
Forum
    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • CANADA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Duration
    • 64 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Sofia BOHDANOWICZ, Deragh CAMPBELL
    • Synopsis
    • Between 1957 and 1964, Polish poet Zofia Bohdanowiczowa wrote 25 letters to Polish author Józef Wittlin. Both were in exile in North America. The correspondence is part of the Houghton Library holdings at Harvard University, call number MS Slavic 7. A woman has come there to examine the letters, days of pencils, creased paper and faded envelopes, nights at the bar, speaking to someone off-camera, trying to articulate how the work makes her feel. It’s only in the scenes in Canada, at the anniversary celebration for another couple of Polish immigrants, that we even learn who she is, the great-granddaughter of the poet, the literary executor of her estate, a role which causes tensions with her aunt. But other tensions are just as, if not more pervasive, like those between two people separated by history, the content of a letter and its material form, process and psychology. Zofia’s words flash up on screen, as subtitles, as handwriting, as print, in the reading room, on the projector, in the hotel room, and their sentiments seep into the unadorned spaces, merging with silence and organ music alike, the melancholy of what still is and what is no longer, the melancholy of the archive.
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