Orientalism in Polish Cinema
Director: Adrian Panek
Cast: Andrzej Chyra, Mariusz Bonaszewski, Olgierd Lukaszewicz
Poland; 102’, 2011, color
Polish with Turkish subtitles
This visually stunning period drama explores the life of Jacob Frank, the 18th-century Polish mystic who believed that he was the Messiah. Frank’s unique faith combined aspects of Christianity and Judaism, and he claimed he could heal people and bestow immortality. After Jewish authorities proclaimed Frank a heretic, he spent many years in prison and later left Poland to live in Vienna. This examination of his life and times, revealed through the perspectives of former disciple Golinski and Viennese court investigator Klein, is marked by intrigue and conspiracy. When Golinski initiates an inquiry about Frank in Vienna, Klein doesn’t understand a key point—that Frank and his daughter are already deeply involved with Austria’s Kaiser Joseph II. Both men will have to focus their attention on other matters than “Frankists.” This polished and visually austere treatise on power and corruption is the auspicious feature debut of writer/director Adrian Panek.