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East of Paradise  .  director Lech Kowalski
11/04/2006, at 08:00 PM 11/11/2006, at 05:30 PM
director Lech Kowalski
country France/USA
year 2005
duration 110 minutes
media 35mm
color Color
language OF
production "Agat Films & Extinkt Films In association with ARTE France ?La lucarne? and YLE teema"
cinematography Lech Kowalski, Mark Brady
sound Emmanuel Soland
editor Lech Kowalski

"Extinkt Films




"[Best film in the orizzonti official section of the 62nd Venice film festival]

[Best documentary of the 62nd Venice film festival from Doc/it

(association of italian documentary filmmakers) ]

[Best documentary director in cinemex FICCO in Mexico]"


"At the beginning of this film the film-maker Lech Kowalski's mother talks about her deportation into a Soviet labour camp in North Russia at the beginning of World War II.

After her release she had to make ends meet without a place to stay. She experienced hunger, cold and typhus, but also unexpected solidarity. Comic and tragic things in her life were close together. Above all it was her tremendous will for life that helped her overcome the strains. The film-maker Lech Kowalski answers to his mother's deeply moving report with a journey through time to the New York Underground of the 70s and 80s. His sensitive observations of the poor, the oppressed and outlaws are born by a deep mistrust against any form of power. By building a bridge of time and space across Russia during World War II and the America of today, Kowalski wants to find out what has made him a son, a man and a director.


In ""East of Paradise"" director Lech Kowalski uses for the first time raw material of his earlier films ""Gringo"", ""Walter and Cutie"" and ""DOA - Dead on Arrival"", a documentary with cult status on a tour of the Sex Pistols. After ""The Boot Factory"" (2000) and ""On Hitler's Highway"" (2003) ""East of Paradise"" is the last part and peak of Lech Kowalski's triology ?The Art of Survival?. Lech Kowalski on the making of his documentary: ?At the beginning of World War II Maria Werla was arrested in Poland and deported to a Soviet labour camp in North Russia. She shares this destiny with thousands of compatriots. I remember it even though I had not been born at that time. I am deeply marked by what my mother had to suffer. I made rebellion and protest my personal way of life in the USA: I created an outsider identity in all of my films and dealt with people living at the brink of society ? just like me. ?Why do you want to film me now?? my mother asked me. I didn't know what to reply, I didn't even really understand it myself. I actually wanted to get to the bottom of a reality from where I could take a soft revenge. I wanted to fling all my crazy films in the world's teeth and scream out loud that my mother and I had managed to survive. 'East of Paradise' is a diptych in which people are telling various stories that ? in the end ? turn out to be just one."