Witold Giersz is yet another master of Polish animation to enjoy a retrospective at the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival. He produced nearly 50 films, which received over 60 awards at prestigious festivals such as Cannes, Oberhausen, Paris, Teheran, Torino, Cracow and Poznan.
Giersz's early films are traditional animation, but his Little Western / Mały western (1961) was a veritable breakthrough, filled with nimble gags and surprising plot twists in a parity of a "big" Western. Fascinated with color as a cinematic material, he abandoned it in favor of so-called motion painting, which would dominate his work from that point on. In it, he paints on celluloid, enlivening an emancipated spot with color to produce amazing effects. The best example is Red and Black / Czerwone i czarne (1963), a film filled with suspense and humor that focuses on the conflict between two titular colors of which one is personified by day bullfighter and the other by a bull. Giersz's motion painting achieves its apex in Horse /Koń (1967), a charming story of a roaming mustang that does not give in to a man trying to break him. Other achievements include Fire / Pożar (1975), a dramatic about a forest full of animals threatened by fire. The film Star / Gwiazda (1985), completed shortly after the lifting of martial law in Poland, is a Christmas story brimming with poetry and reflection, based on Kolęda nocce by Ernest Bryll and Wojciech Trzciński. All these films will be screened during the upcoming festival.
To celebrate the retrospective, a book will be released about his work: Ruchome malarstwo Witolda Giersza (The Motion Painting of Witold Giersz) authored by Joanna Giersz and Jerzy Armata; Mr. Armata's book about animated filmmaker Mariusz Wilczyński recently received an award from the Polish Film Institute for the best book about film of 2011.