/The Themersons – the art of life

The Themersons – the art of life

On Saturday there will be a screening of the Themersons’ films.  The couple’s work largely contributed to the film avant-garde movement which took place in the first half of the 20th century. We invite you to Pauza in Garden as well where you can see an exhibition called “Franciszka and Stefan Themerson. The urge to create visions – scene 5”.

Stefan Themerson i język

‘Nature gave us vocal chords but neglected to give us a light-producing organ. We had to build it ourselves: The projective luminiferous eye.’

Stefan Themerson, The Urge to Create Visions


„The Adventures of a Good Citizen” (1937)

This film was lost during the war. One print was found somewhere near Moscow and sent to the Film Archive in Warsaw. The print was old and badly battered. Hence the quality of the present reduction from the original 35mm to 16mm is not perfect. But it could have been worse. There are two sentences spoken in Polish. At the beginning the CARPENTER shouts to one of the two men with a wardrobe: ‘The sky won’t fall in if you walk backwards!’ This is overheard (over the telephone) by THE GOOD CITIZEN (a civil servant) who also decides to try walking backwards. In the street, he collides with TWO MEN WITH THE WARDROBE, and now it is he and one of the other two who carry the wardrobe backwards out of the town and into the forest. A group of people (representing a cross-section of society) march with banners to protest against walking backwards. Inscriptions on the banners read: DOWN WITH WALKING BACKWARDS! THE SKY WILL FALL IN! FORWARD MARCH, EVERYBODY! The Polish words appearing at the end of the film mean: ONE MUST UNDERSTAND THE METAPHOR, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. — S.T.


„Calling Mr Smith” (1943)

In 1938 Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, leading figures in Polish avant-garde cinema, left Warsaw for Paris. In 1942 they came to England and worked for the rest of the war in the Film Unit of the Polish Ministry of Information and Documentation in London. “Calling Mr Smith”, made in 1943, calls on ‘Mr Smith’ to support the war effort as an anti-fascist struggle, illustrating its appeal with examples of Nazi oppression in Poland.


„The Eye& The Ear” (1937)

Four types of visual interpretation of four songs by Karol Szymanowski, Polish words by Julian Tuwim.


There will also be a screening of two documentary movies about the Themersons:


„Stephan + Franciszka” (1975, dir. Tomasz Pobóg-Malinowski)

Author of a film presents the Themersons and their artistc output. It is the only documentary film made during the artists’ lives.
„Stefan Themerson and Language” (1976, dir. Erik van Zuylen)

The film is an attempt at providing the explanation of the idea of semantic poetry. Its protagonist is Stefan Themerson, a poet. A detective (K. Schippers) is leading an investigation on this unusual poetry genre and its author. A docudrama in which the author acquaints the audience with some of the concepts of Stefan Themerson’s philosophy of la anguage by means of a dialogue. The film makes use of fragments of a novel ”Bayamus” (1945).



25th November (Saturday), 08.00 pm.
Malopolska Garden of Arts – Small Screening Room


Exhibition “Franciszka and Stefan Themerson. The urge to create visions – scene 5”

The exhibition presents the film output of Franciszka and Stefan Themerson, the most important representatives of the film avantgarde of 1930s and 1940s. The exhibition comprises photograms and collages (made since 1928) from which it all started.


2-30 November 2017
Pauza In Garden, 12 Rajska Street