Each month, the CMBA profiles a classic movie blog written by one of our members. This month, we’re featuring Rafal Glapiak, who writes at Mocne Punkty: https://mocnepunkty.pl/
Rafal Glapiak: The reason why I started blogging is quite prosaic. I usually publish reviews in the Polish press and on the Internet. When the coronavirus pandemic began, the situation became uncertain. Articles requested by publishers and editors waited their turn until I finally had to put them away in a drawer. So that the texts already written would not go to waste, I decided to start my own website where I could post what had not been printed.
When the blog was created in June 2020, I decided that I did not want to write only about contemporary cinema. I'm a fan of Hollywood's Golden Age, so I've decided that once a month (now quarterly) I'll write extensive analysis (sometimes as long as 40,000 characters with spaces) about the pictures from the 1940s that made the biggest impression on me in the past (I started with George Cukor's The Philadelphia Story). I focus on the context of the creation and its reception (both by critics and the audience), and then I analyze it.
In 2021, however, I started a cycle that I will run for 10 years. I called it Kino pokryte pyłem, which means Cinema Covered with Dust. It's about the dust that covered America in the 1930s (along with the Great Depression) and the dust that covered many of these movies, especially in Poland, where the old cinema has been replaced by the current repertoire (my blog may be the only one in the whole country so heavily focused on films from the first half of the 20th century). I watch – year after year, premiere after premiere (if that's possible, of course) – pictures from the 1930s. Then I choose 60 of them and describe them briefly on the page, creating a subjective guide through the decade. Now I started watching movies from 1932.
I share my knowledge on my blog. I watch, read and write to bring Polish readers closer to the cinema that gave rise to what they see on screens today. I look at known and unknown films, those that have won awards, and those that do not even have Polish titles and are not mentioned in any textbook. It's a huge job that will take a few more years, but I hope it's worth it.
CMBA: Besides classic movie blogging, what are some of your other passions?
Rafal Glapiak: I graduated in film studies, so what I like most is watching movies and writing about them. This is how I make my living, so I spend a lot of time in front of various screens and books. I am also interested in the history of the United States, especially the first half of the 20th century (also due to the series I run). I like to travel. I have been to America twice: in 2018 and 2019. The first time I visited four cities: New York, which I love, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Los Angeles (I was at Paramount Studios, where I took a picture of myself in front of the Preston Sturges building, on which I was writing my thesis, and at Warner Bros.). The second time I rode the East Coast with my girlfriend and friends. I miss the US and look forward to my next trip.
CMBA: If you could program a perfect day of classic movies for TCM, what would be the seven films on your schedule?
Rafal Glapiak: I'd probably focus on screwball comedies. I would start earlier than 1934, with Private Lives (1931), directed by Sidney Franklin. Then the classics I love – It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra), Libeled Lady (1936, Jack Conway), Easy Living (1937, Mitchell Leisen), Bringing Up Baby (1938, Howard Hawks), Midnight (1939, Mitchell Leisen) – and finally, to make it more serious, but still funny, I would show the American audience a Polish film noir (retro-noir, I guess): Reverse (2009) by Borys Lankosz, set in the era of the Polish People's Republic.
CMBA: What is a classic movie that you love, but most people don't know about -- and what do you love about it?
Rafal Glapiak: Most of the films I write about in the Kino pokryte pyłem series are films unknown to the Polish audience. I will give you a few examples that you probably know, and I will give you the number of ratings on Filmweb, which is the Polish database that is the equivalent of IMDb or Letterboxd.
Waterloo Bridge (1931, James Whale) – 47 votes
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931, Ernst Lubitsch) – 68 votes
Bad Girl (1931, Frank Borzage) – 57 votes
Blonde Crazy (1931, Roy Del Ruth) – 45 votes
Platinum Blonde (1931, Frank Capra) – 104 votes
Midnight (1939, Mitchell Leisen) – 88 votes
The Lady Eve (1941, Preston Sturges) – 505 votes
This, of course, does not mean that only so many people watched it, but you understand the difference. I would very much like Poles to watch these pictures, get to know them and like them. After all, these are great titles that are often considered masterpieces in the United States.
CMBA: What is something that most people don't know about you?
Rafal Glapiak: As I prepared to answer these questions, I realized how much I dislike writing about myself. I am modest and shy, preferring to hide behind texts about cinema, but it was a pleasure to share this information with you anyway.
We thank Rafal for participating in our Q & A profile and encourage you to visit Mocne Punkty at https://mocnepunkty.pl/ !