Femme Fatale of the silver screen shining star of this year’s Silent Film Festival

The festival begins with a screening of ‘Beast’ starring Polish femme fatale Pola Negri in the main role. Kino Pod Baranami

With Joanna Kulig making waves in Hollywood it seems only fitting that the 19th edition of the Silent Film Festival, which has kicked off in Kraków, looks back at one of the early stars of the silver screen – Poland’s Pola Negri.

Born Apolonia Chałupiec, and achieving global fame for the femme fatale roles she played, the festival will be inaugurated with the screening of ‘Beast’ which sees Negri in the main role. 

In 1922 Negri was signed to Paramount, making her the first European actor to be contracted in Hollywood. 

Appearing in numerous films for Paramount she established herself as one of the most popular actresses of the silent era. 

Forbidden Paradise starred Negri as Catherine the Great and marked Clarke Gable’s second film appearance. Public Domain

Running from December 6-9, the festival entitled ‘Pola, Polonia, Polonica’ from “Pod Baranami” cinema and the “Cinem” foundation, is dedicated to the hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining its independence and will also feature Mauritz Stiller’s comedy "Imperial Hotel" as well as "East and West" starring Molly Picon.

Coordinator of the festival, Ola Starmach, told TFN:  “This year’s debut film, Beast, will be accompanied by live music from the band Kroke, which actually played at the festival's premiere 20 years ago. 

Negri achieved global fame for the femme fatale roles she played.Public Domain

“The aim of the festival is to familiarize film lovers with the silent cinema. We want to encourage people to watch silent films as they would see them decades ago, with live music. It's a great experience.

"Most of the people who come to watch silent films for the first time, keep coming back every year later. Some even book a seat before they know which films will be screened at the festival.”

She added: “This year's festival marks the 100th anniversary of Poland's regaining its independence. In previous years we had various themes such as "Women's Cinema", "journey in Time” and next year we will focus mainly on comedies.