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Mariusz Wilczyński. Kill it and Leave This Town

Mariusz Wilczynski’s film became a legend in artistic circles long before its release. This autobiographical story, drawn by a painter, performer, and director of animated shorts, took 14 years to complete. Its creator, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź, has been teaching animation to students of the Łódź Film School since 2007. Kill It and Leave This Town, which premiered on 22 February 2020 at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, was his feature-length debut.

Kill It… is a personal story going back to the protagonist’s childhood in 1970s Łódź, as experienced by the fictional Janek, who is shown traveling to the seaside with his father, and the director’s youthful alter ego, Little Mariusz, who watches slides on a Bajka projector manufactured by the Prexer Cinematechnical Plant in Łódź. A journey into bygone times shows a Łódź that belongs to the past, with cobbled streets, an old tram depot, factory chimneys, and newspaper kiosks. This look back is a dreamlike vision, in which the fate of fish coalesces with that of humans, who, having been beheaded, end up in a dish on a shop counter. The surreal story is accompanied by Tadeusz Nalepa’s entrancing music and dialogues between the animated characters voiced by Anna Dymna, Krystyna Janda, Marek Kondrat, Barbara Krafftówna, Irena Kwiatkowska, Matorzata Kożuchowska, Daniel Olbrychski, Zbigniew Rybczyński, Tomasz Stańko, Andrzej Wajda, and others. The film’s protagonists are based on real people, members of the artist’s family, idols of his youth, such as Tadeusz Nalepa and Zbigniew Boniek, as well as characters populating the pages of books: the cat Behemoth and Woland from Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Mariusz Wilczyński’s is an auteur film that he himself conceived, wrote, and then drew and directed.

The personal biography shown on screen resonates with everyone’s story: in the various episodes the viewers recognize their own defining experiences, such as the relationship with one’s parents, love, friendship, and the death of loved ones. Harmony is restored to the world by music and the nostalgic image of a ship disappearing over the horizon, akin to the passage of time that cannot be halted or reprised. „The lines are drawn by a hand connected to a polygraph; a polygraph to which Mariusz Wilczyński strapped himself and which reveals the whole truth about who and what he is, and where he comes from” said Tomasz Raczek in his review of Kill It… .

Wilczyński’s brilliant work has garnered awards and accolades at festivals in Annecy, Ottawa, Zagreb, Toronto, Lisbon, Sapporo, Vienna and Lima. It is the first animated film to have won the Golden Lions – the grand prix of the Polish Feature Film Festival in Gdynia (in 2020). It has also received Eagle awards for best film, screenplay, music and sound.

Three years after the film’s world premiere at the Berlinale, we present an exhibition prepared in collaboration with the Zachęta National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, which shows the artist’s workshop, original drawings, elements of set designs, and scenes not included in the final cut. It is accompanied by a very fitting postscript in the form of the exhibition Nalepa and Wilk, displaying previously unpublished photographs of the bluesman and founder of the bands Blackout and Breakout. The author of most of the images is Mariusz Wilczyński, who in his youth was fascinated by the guitarist, singer and composer. Later on, the two artists actually struck up a lifelong friendship.

February 25 – July 30 2023
Temporary exhibition of the Film Museum in Łódź

Mariusz Wilczyński. Kill it and Leave This Town

Curator : Marta Miś
Cooperation: Zuzanna Woźniak
Exhibition design and key visual: Lotne Studio
Production: Kornel Nocoń, Rafał Andrzejczak, Mirosław Gumiński, Adam Dębowski,
Sebastian Snurski, Mariusz Jarząbek, Mikołaj Zacharow, Dariusz Gregorek, Wojciech Wojtysiak

Attention! The exhibition is semi-dark and contains flashing lights




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