Manggha – Feliks Jasieński. O mało znanym filmie Kazimierza Muchy

Michał Krotowski


Manggha (Feliks Jasieński) – on a little-known film by Kazimierz Mucha

This article contains an analysis of an educational documentary film released in 1981 and directed by Kazimierz Mucha. The film is not accessible to a wider public, and a copy (not of the highest quality) is stored in the archive of the Wytwórnia Filmów Oświatowych (Educational Film Studio) in Łódź. However, this film is an interesting and unique example of the interest of Polish filmmaking in Japanese art. Despite what the title might suggest, this is not a biographical documentary. In it, only a few selected facts drawn from the life of Feliks Jasieński are presented, frequently interspersed with quotations. Above all, the makers of the film focused on a presentation of the collection of Japanese art gathered by Manggha (Jasieński’s artistic pseudonym), and also on its reception in Poland during Jasieński’s period of activity, that is at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Because it is a short film (this was surely a requirement imposed on the majority of educational films), the film refers to the abovementioned issues in a synthetic and incomplete fashion. Besides offering an analysis of the film, this article throws light on the somewhat forgotten figure of Jasieński and the Promethean ideas that he espoused of grafting several models drawn from Japanese culture on to Polish art, at a time when a broad Polish public encountered Japanese culture for the first time.