Polish Highlanders Association of Canada to Co-Present ‘The Gorals’

Polish Highlanders Association of Canada to Co-Present ‘The Gorals’

Ekran is pleased to partner with The Polish Highlanders Association of Canada (Zwiazek Podhalan w Kanadzie) to co-present The Gorals.

The documentary is set in Podhale – the mountainous region of Poland inhabited by Polish Highlanders. This ethnic group is one of the most distinct in Europe, with their own unmistakable style of dress, economic trade, construction, culture and folklore. The film tells the stories of four men, each carrying out age-old, traditional professions such as wheelwright, lumberjack and bagpipe constructor. It seeks answers to the current and pressing question of how these people manage to reconcile their Highland culture with the modern world.

The Gorals (Górale) are no strangers to Canada, and in particular Ontario where many reside around Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton and have established organizations such as The Polish Highlanders Association of Canada (celebrating its 40th year) to help maintain their connection to their unique folk culture of song, dance, art, architecture and language.  For many within the Goral community around Toronto, as well as our own Ekran team, the documentary will hit close to home as family connections shine on screen for this Canadian premier.file_ostatni-gorale

Director Filip Luft’s film beautifully captures Polish highlanders as they perform the same professions their ancestors did over the past several centuries. From shepherds to craftsmen, characters are shaped when confronted with nature, inaccessible mountains, weather changes and animals. The Tatra mountains become more than just a silent observer of our heroes. Around the mountains, everything changes and they stand and maintain, unshaken.

The film screens on November 18th at 3:00pm at Cine Starz Mississauga and is followed by a Q & A with special guest and producer Maciej Pawelczyk. To help warm up the viewers, we share a few highlander anecdotes;

Oscypekis a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk exclusively in the Tatra Mountains region of Poland. Since 2007 Oscypek is a protected trade name under the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin geographical indication.

Ciupaga; The shepherd’s axe is a long thin light axe used in past centuries by shepherds in the Carpathian Mountains. The features of a shepherd’s axe combine a tool with a walking stick, that could be used as a light weapon. It has symbolic historical and cultural connotations and is still used as a prop in many traditional dances.

Kierpce; light and soft moccasins which are secured with tightly wrapped straps around the ankles and are made from sheepskin, pigskin or cowhide.

Malarstwo na Szkle; reverse glass painting is one of the many art forms (among wood carving & embroidery) practiced in the Podhale region, the colourful paintings adorn houses, churches and chapels.

Halny; is a foehn wind that blows in the Tatra Mountains of the Carpathians, with the most turbulent blowing in the Podhale region, coming down the slopes of the Tatra Mountains. This warm windstorm blows through valleys and is often disastrous, ripping off roofs, causing avalanches and, according to some people, can affect a persons state of mind.

For the ambitious Polish speakers, click here to pick up a few easy words from the dialects found in the Podhale region!