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Pianist Wojciech Olejniczak and Sophie Marceau in The Blue Note, dir. Andrzej Zulawski 1991 © Polish National Film Archive
The Film Society of Lincoln Center
and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York

Andrzej Zulawski

part of the series
Romance in Light: Fryderyk Chopin and the Cinema

Saturday, May 8, 2010, 2:00 PM

The Film Society of Lincoln Center
165 W. 65th Street, New York, NY

Tickets: $11; $8 seniors, $7 members, students, children. Tel. 212.875.5601 or online 

I only want to film stories that have something excessive about them

- Andrzej Zulawski

The screening of Andrzej Zulawski's The Blue Note is the last one in the series Romance in Light: Fryderyk Chopin and the Cinema presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Polish Cultural Institute to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Fryderyk Chopin's birth.

In the stylistically rich The Blue Note, Poland's bad-boy film auteur Andrzej Zulawski chronicles the last 36 hours of Chopin's life, which he spends at his lover George Sand's estate in Nohant, France, surrounded by Sand (Marie-France Pisier), her daughter Solange (Sophie Marceau), and a group of friends who come to a party thrown by Sand, with author Ivan Turgenev, opera singer Pauline Viardot, and painter Eugene Delacroix among them. The once-passionate love between Chopin (Polish pianist Janusz Olejniczak) and George Sand has gradually deteriorated along with Chopin's creative powers. In the end, he writes down his very last note, which Sand poetically calls la note bleue.

Andrzej Zulawski is one of the most prolific and controversial Polish film auteurs. Director, screenwriter, novelist, essayist and actor, Zulawski began his career as an assistant director to Andrzej Wajda (Samson, 1961; Ashes, 1965) and made his feature debut with The Third Part of the Night (1971). That and his next film, Devil (1972), defined the features of his distinct style: non-linear storytelling, surrealism, exuberant imagery, an obsession with bodily functions and sexuality to the point of obscenity, and brutality as a metaphor for politics and history. After completing the science fiction epic On the Silver Globe (1976) - an allegory of the totalitarian regime that was banned by the authorities - Zulawski left Poland and continued to work mostly in France. Possession (1981) with Isabelle Adjani (Best Actress at Cannes Film Festival in 1981) and Sam Neill, and La Femme Publique (1984) with Valerie Kaprisky, are two of the "wild, imaginative, and controversial pictures" (Yuri German, All Movie Guide) that gained Zulawski his reputation as a non-conformist visionary. Loved by many, hated by others, he remains one of Poland's, and Europe's, most radical filmmakers.

The Blue Note (La Note Bleue), France/Germany 1991, 135 min.

Written and Directed by Andrzej Zulawski

Cinematography by Andrzej J. Jaroszewicz

Art Direction by Jean-Vincent Puzos

Cast: Janusz Olejniczak (Fryderyk Chopin), Marie-France Pisier (George Sand), Sophie Marceau (Solange Sand), Noemi Nadelmann (Pauline Viardot), Feodor Atkine (Eugene Delacroix), Roman Wilhelmi (Adalbert Grzymala), Grazyna Dylag (Laura Czosnowska)

Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Polish Cultural Institute in New York, in association with the Polish National Film Archive and Polish National Television.


March 1, 2010 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Fryderyk Chopin. Born in Zelazowa Wola, then in the Russian partition of Poland, Chopin left his homeland in 1830 during the violently suppressed November Uprising, never to return. He joined the Great Emigration of Poland's cultural elite in Paris and, having refused to apply for his passport at the Russian embassy, became an émigré without the right to return to Warsaw. He died in Paris in 1849 at age thirty-nine. Poland, and his yearning for it, nourished Chopin's imagination and provided the substance of his music.

In recognition of Chopin and his music, an astounding array of concerts, festivals, and other events is taking place around the world throughout 2010. Warsaw, the City of Chopin, offers occasions to hear the great composer's most celebrated contemporary interpreters. Following the Anniversary Concerts and Gala Concert on Chopin's birthday in spring, Warsaw will host the Chopin and His Europe International Festival in August, with 50 concerts and over 1,000 performers, and as always will be home to the 16th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition, October 2-23.

More about Fryderyk Chopin

More about Chopin 2010 anniversary and programming

2010 Chopin concerts in the US

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