Polish artist Mariusz Wilczyński has been making visually striking, deeply personal short animations, as well as unique live animation performances, for twenty years. This body of work has won him widespread acclaim in Poland and tributes at institutions around the world, including MoMA, the National Gallery in London, and many others. Fifteen years in the making, Kill It and Leave This Town (2020, 88 min) is Wilczyński’s first feature-length film. The winner of the Jury Distinction Award at the Annecy International Film Festival, the Grand Prize for Feature Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, and a FIPRESCI Award at the 2020 Viennale, it is a hauntingly surreal meditation on aging, mortality, and loss. Adopting an intentionally threadbare visual style that makes visible the traces of its own creation, Wilczyński transmutes heavily autobiographical elements into a radically shape-shifting form in which outer reality and inner consciousness collapse into each other, and in which the laws of time, space, and identity are constantly in flux.
The film features a voice cast comprising established Polish actors Krystyna Janda (Decalogue, A Short Film About Killing), Andrzej Chyra (United States of Love), filmmakers Andrzej Wajda and Zbigniew Rybczyński, and avant-garde jazz musician Tomasz Stańko, as well as a score by renowned Polish composer and musician Tadeusz Nalepa.
Co-presented by Anthology Film Archives, the Polish Cultural Institute New York, and Outsider Pictures, and representing its North American premiere run, this two-week virtual engagement will be supplemented by a program of Wilczyński’s earlier short films.
Occupying a conceptual space several universes away from (or perhaps, given its intensely personal nature, deeply nested inside) whatever it is we recognize as ‘reality,’ the scratchy, hand-drawn interior epic… rewards with one of the most nightmarishly original dystopian visions you are likely to encounter this year.
Jessica Kiang, Variety
Kill It and Leave This Town is available for streaming between November 25 and December 8, 2020, for a rental price of $12 at vimeo.com.
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