Brodsky and Kieslowski: 20 Years On

  • A scene from Andrey Khrzhanovsky’s A ROOM AND A HALF.  Courtesy

Past Event

This event was on Thu 17 Mar, 7pm

This event marks 20 years since the deaths of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky and Polish film-maker Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Featuring screenings of Andrey Khrzhanovskiy‘s hybrid feature film Room and a Half (2009, 2 hr 10 min) and Kieślowski’s remarkable short film Talking Heads  (1980, 15 min).

Room and a Half (2009)

Andrey Khrzhanovskiy‘s touching and amusing movie is a biography, both imaginative and imaginary, of Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), the self-taught poet, critic and translator, raised in Leningrad, the son of a Soviet naval photographer, and persecuted by the state for his independence of mind. In 1972 he was driven into American exile where he achieved intellectual eminence, and he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1987. Brodsky never returned to Russia and apparently once said that “such a journey could only take place anonymously”. Khrzhanovsky takes Brodsky on a journey back to Leningrad, dreaming about his youth, upbringing and early life as he takes the ferry from Helsinki to Leningrad before being reunited with his elderly parents. The director uses animated sequences to elegant effect, and his affectionate, nostalgic movie brings to mind the autobiographical works of those other exiles, Vladimir Nabokov and Andrei Tarkovsky. (Philip French).

Talking Heads (1980)

In 1980, the late Krzysztof Kieslowski interviewed a number of ordinary Poles (born at various times over the preceding 100 years), asking them who they were and what they wanted from life. People of different age, profession and social status answer two simple questions: who they are and what they want from life.