vendredi, octobre 07, 2011

OCTOBER 7,2011 at 10h30 PM as part of The Howl Festival in NYC

On Friday Oct 7 at 10h30 PM as part of The Howl Festival in NYC

a screening dedicated to Lech Kowalski's friend Mark Kramer

Gringo: Story of a Junkie.

more info :

As opposed to what is written Lech will not attend and it is not a new print but it is worth seeing the film!

An article about the film:


Story of a junkie

A harrowing, bloody story of heroin addiction that puts films like Trainspotting to shame, Gringo mixes documentary footage with staged scenes to show the life of addict John Spacely.

Perhaps you've seen him somewhere and just can't remember his name. The face is about an enigmatic as they come: classic Roman features topped by a greasy dyed matt of slicked back blond hair, pirate-style patch covering his right eye and cigarette dangling from an ever-present smirk. Or maybe you've never really noticed him and could frankly care less who he is or was. To you, John Spacely is just another loser, a human being throwing their life away by indulging in the most shameless of self-satisfactions: drug abuse. The minute you learn he's a card-carrying member of the Riders of the White Horse, you're thoughts turn to how selfish and stupid he is, how addiction is for the weak and lazy. You now no longer wish to know anything about him, his life, or how he ended up strung out in New York City. Instead, you sneer down your self-righteous nose and blame him (and his kind) for all the problems of the world. Maybe it would help you to learn a little about who John Spacely is. Perhaps your perceptions will change when you learn what drove him to drugs and what he has to do on a daily basis to survive. One thing's for sure, the minute you see the horrifying docudrama Story of a Junkie, you will think twice about ever attempting to use drugs. This film is as successful a PSA warning about the terrors of dependency that you will probably ever see. It makes the Hollywood glamorization of such struggling souls that much more laughable.

GRINGO Story of a Junkie is about as close to pure European neo-realism as an American movie is ever likely to get. It is also a stunning example of the cinema vérité style of filmmaking, the capturing of events as they happen without concern about continuity or performance. Part documentary, part confessional, this occasionally brilliant but always brave movie is an incredibly searing indictment on the use and abuse of drugs.

Whereas Tinsel Town tripe likes to romanticize the ritualistic intake of mind and or mood altering substances as a photogenic character flaw, Story of a Junkie tells it like it really is. Never once white washing or trivializing the life of a heroin addict, director Lech Kowalski and his cast of real life drug users draw us directly into the warped urban war zone where the vast majority of pusher and partakers exist. Never cringing from the sights, the sounds, the smells and the surreality of the real drug culture, the desperation is palpable and the danger, predominant. From how fixes are "cut" to the hierarchy in a shooting gallery, you'll be hard pressed to find another film that tackles this terrible subject with more authenticity. It is drug abuse as slasher film, a frightening, sometime funny and often fatalistic representation of people living a life with a maniacal monkey on their back.

It's impossible for us non-addicts to understand the struggles and the will to survive (if only for the next score) of the person hopelessly obsessed with using. But for some reason, we are no longer a society that accepts brutal honesty. Everything needs to be sugarcoated with a small fraction of hope inserted to keep us feeling safe and secure. Frankly, the plain truth is all that Story of a Junkie has to offer. Without its integrity, its desire to get to the very heart of this corrupt cosmos, all we’d have is a carnival sideshow, a scandalous showcase of pure exploitation. But because of the tales it tells and the people who tell them, Story of a Junkie transcends its trappings to become a work of astounding power.

vendredi, février 25, 2011

MARCH 12, 2011 4:15 PM @ Walter Reade Theater in NYC


by Lech Kowalski

curated by Nicole Brenez

Drawing on Internet images related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, director Lech Kowalski deconstructs Robert Flaherty’s classic 1948 documentary Louisiana Story (a film originally commissioned by Standard Oil). “I am quite interested in how the Internet is giving us information using images that anyone can produce and the contrast between ‘corporate’ images and nonprofessional images and story constructions,” says Kowalski.

The End of the World Begins With One Lie
Lech Kowalski, France, 2010; 62m

as part of rendez-vous-with-french-cinema-2011
Mar. 03 - Mar. 13
North America’s leading showcase for the best in contemporary French film returns! Works by several of France’s best-known filmmakers—Bertrand Tavernier, Claude Lelouch, Catherine Breillat, Benoît Jacquot—are included alongside outstanding debuts by Katell Quillévéré, Valérie Donzelli, and Angelo Cianci, and two programs of experimental media works. Finally, we are delighted to welcome back Catherine Deneuve, who will be with us to present the delightful Potiche. All films are New York premieres!

buy tickets