"Poh-lin" is Hebrew for "we shall settle down here." When Jews in exile from Germany, Spain, and Portugal reached Poland (“Poh-lin”) they interpreted the linguistic coincidence as a good sign and settled down there with their families. Before the Second World War the 3.5 millions Polish Jews amounted to one of Europe’s largest ethnic minorities. When the war ended only approximately 350,000 people were saved – an entire civilisation had disappeared from the map of Europe. In prize-winning film director Jolanta Dylewska’s magnificent PO-LIN, those lively and vital societies of 1930’s Poland are reconstructed, a time when the Jewish and Polish cultures co-existed and were nourished by each other. Unique archival images breathe new life into a lost world, the sounds anchoring history in the present. POL-IN is a superb demonstration of singular craftsmanship, which without denying a painful past succeeds in casting new light on that which the war had overshadowed.
The film offers a seldom-seen documentation of Jewish societies before the outbreak of the Second World War. For the first time we see these living milieus, re-created through amateur film footage and magical sound design. Presumed by critics to be Poland’s contribution to the Oscars in 2008, this film is an audio-visual gem – cinematic dialectic when it is felt most deeply.
Jolanta DYLEWSKA (réalisatrice / film director)