all films screened at the festival will have English subtitles
Hatred / Wołyń, 2016
Screening Time: Monday, Nov. 6, 7:30 pm
Duration: 2 hr 30 min.
Category: Drama, History, War
Director: Wojtek Smarzowski
Screenwriter: Wojtek Smarzowski
Cinematography: Piotr Sobociński, Jr.
Music: Mikołaj Trzaska
Producer: Jaroslaw Jakubiec
Polish Film Academy 2016: Best Film of 2016, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound and Best Costumes, and the Audience
Michalina Łabacz, Arkadiusz Jakubik, Jacek Braciak, Maria Sobocińska, Wasyl Wasylik, Adrian Zaremba, Lech Dyblik, Izabela Kuna
A small village in the south-western part of Volhynia (Wołyń), populated by Ukrainians, Poles and Jews. 1939. Zosia Głowacka is in love with a Ukrainian boy from her village. But her father decides to marry her off to the richest farmer, a Pole, Maciej Skiba, a widower much older than her and with two children.
The life of the village is altered, first by the Soviet occupation and nearly two years later by the German attack on the USSR. The following year sees the hunt and brutal killings of Jews. Meanwhile, although not supported by the Germans, the Ukrainian aspirations to establish a sovereign country are constantly rising. The tension between the Polish and Ukrainian neighbors increases, as well. There are quarrels, people disappear. News of the bloody events from Eastern Volhynia reach the village. Finally, in the summer of 1943, there’s an outbreak of murders and cruelty. Troops of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) attack Polish settlements and often equally ruthless Poles take revenge on the Ukrainians. Amongst this sea of hatred Zosia is trying to save her children.
Blindness / Zaćma, 2016
Screening Time: Friday, Nov.3, 7:45pm
Ryszard Bugajski and Maria Mamona in attendance
Duration: 1 hr 50 min.
Category: Biography, History
Director: Ryszard Bugajski
Screenwriter: Ryszard Bugajski
Cinematography: Arkadiusz Tomiak
Music: Shane Harvey
Producer: Ryszard Bugajski
Maria Mamona, Małgorzata Zajączkowska, Janusz Gajos, Marek Kalita, Bartosz Porczyk, Kazimierz Kaczor
Chicago Film Critics Award - 2017 Polish Film Festival in America, Chicago
Best Actress Award for Maria Mamona - 2017 Prowincjonalia Festival, Września, Poland
Best Picture, Best Actress Award for Maria Mamona - 2017 New York Polish Film Festival
The film showing an obscure episode from the life of a Stalinist Colonel of the Office of Public Security is inspired by a character of Julia Brystiger in Communist Poland. Her nickname was “Bloody Luna” because the claim is that during interrogations she tortured prisoners, young men in particular, with extreme cruelty. At the beginning of 1960s she appeared in Laski near Warsaw, in the Institute for the Blind, where the Primate of Polish Catholic Church, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, was also a frequent visitor. His imprisonment in the years 1953-1956 was supervised by none other than Julia Brystiger herself. During the difficult and tempestuous meeting with the Primate, “Bloody Luna” Brystiger rejects the communist ideology, asks for her crimes to be forgiven and for help in finding God…
Afterimage / Powidoki, 2016
Screening Time: Saturday, Nov. 4, 2:30 pm
Duration: 1 hr 38 min.
Category: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Andrzej Wajda
Screenwriter: Andrzej Mularczyk
Cinematography: Paweł Edelman
Music: Andrzej Panufnik
Producer: Michał Kwieciński, Akson Studio
Bogusław Linda, Zofia Wichłacz, Bronisława Zamachowska, Aleksandra Justa, Mariusz Bonaszewski, Szymon Bobrowski, Irena Melcer, Tomasz Włosok, Paulina Gałązka, Mateusz Rusin, Krzysztof Pieczyński, Maria Semotiuk
In 1945, as Stalin sets his hands over Poland, famous painter Władysław Strzemiński refuses to compromise on his art with the doctrines of social realism. Persecuted, expelled from his chair at the University, he’s eventually erased from the museums’ walls. With the help of some of his students, he starts fighting against the Party and becomes the symbol of an artistic resistance against intellectual tyranny. This is the last film of Andrzej Wajda who died the same year when the film was released at the age of 90.
The New York Times film critic , Glenn Kenny, wrote this about the film:
„This is an angry, vivid, pationate film. Cinema is worse off now that Wajda, one of the truly towering greats of the form, is dead; there is some consolation, though, that he went out with his boots still most definitely on. „
Cursed / Wyklęty, 2017
Screening Time: Thursday, Nov.2, at 7:30pm
Robert Wrzosek in attendance
Duration: 1hr 45 min.
Category: Drama, History
Director: Konrad Łęcki
Screenwriter: Konrad Łęcki
Cinematography: Karol Łakomiec
Music: Szymon Szewczyk
Producer: Marcin Kwaśny, Konrad Łęcki, Dorota Bogucka
Wojciech Niemczyk, Marcin Kwaśny, Robert Wrzosek, Janusz Chabior, Hanna Świętnicka, Jarosław Witaszczyk, Maciej Rayzacher, Michał Węgrzyński, Andrzej Plata, Piotr Cyrwus, Marek Siudym, Olgierd Łukaszewicz, Ignacy Gogolewski.
The war is not over for some in Poland after the 1945. There is an ongoing struggle against the communist regime for the postwar shape of the country. The films protagonists are those underground resistance fighters who opposed the soviet rule and refused to give up arms. This full length debut of Konrad Łęcki was inspired by a story of a real soldier from those times, Joseph Franczak.
The Last Family / Ostatnia rodzina, 2016
Screening Time: Saturday, Nov. 4, 6:30 pm
Duration: 2 hr 3 min.
Category: Biography, Drama
Director: Jan Matuszynski
Screenwriter: Robert Bolesto
Cinematography: Kacper Fertacz
Producer: Aurum Films
Best film - FPFF 2016
Best film producer - FPFF 2016
Best Actress in a Leading Role for Aleksandra Konieczna - FPFF 2016
Best Actor in a Leading Role for Andrzej Seweryn – FPFF 2016
Best Actor in a Leading Role for Andrzej Seweryn IFF Locarno 2016
Audience Award – FPFF 2016
Jurnalist’s Award – FPFF 2016
Golden Frog – Camerimage 2016
Andrzej Seweryn, Dawid Ogrodnik, Aleksandra Konieczna, Andrzej Chyra, Zofia Perczyńska, Danuta Nagórna, Alicja Karluk, Magdalena Boczarska, Agnieszka Michalska, Jarosław Gajewski, Paweł Paczesny, Grzegorz Feluś, Adam Szyszkowski, Łukasz Gawroński, Dagmara Mrowiec, Marta Joźwik
Born in 1929, Zdzisław Beksiński, a Polish surrealist painter famous for his eerie post-apocalyptic works, is a cult artist who has portrayed decaying bodies and fantasized of hard core S&M sexual experiences. Known for his keen sense of humor, he is also scared of spiders and tending to his sick mother. His neurotic, suicidal son, Tomasz, is a cult radio DJ and translator, responsible for the Polish versions of Monty Python films. His wife, Zofia Beksińska, a devoted Catholic, endures these two eccentrics and glues the family together. As the parents try to prevent their son from hurting himself, their lives are defined by painting, a series of near-death experiences, funerals and changing trends in dance music.
The Art of Loving / Sztuka kochania, 2017
The Story of Michalina Wisłocka / Historia Michaliny Wisłockiej
Screening Time: Saturday, Nov. 4, 9 pm
Duration: 1 hr 57 min.
Category: Biography, comedy, drama, erotic
Director: Maria Sadowska
Screenwriter: Krzysztof Rak
Cinematography: Director: Maria Sadowska
Cinematography: Michał Sobociński
Music: Radzimir Dębski
Producer: Krzysztof Terej
Magdalena Boczarska, Eryk Lubos, Justyna Wasilewska, Piotr Adamczyk, Jaśmina Polak, Borys Szyc
Audience Award - "Wisła" in Russia
Special Mention Award for Maria Sadowska - "Wisła" in Russia
The Art of Loving unveils the story of Dr. Michalina Wisłocka, the first female sexologist in Poland, in different decades of her life: 1940s after the war, the Stalinist 1950s, and the Polish People Republic of the 1970s. The film looks back at her private life, her failed marriage, the love triangle she was involved in, and her complicated relationship with her lover, a married man. The main focus is a struggle to publish her book, a guide to a better sex life (published in 1976 with the title Sztuka kochania - The Art of Loving), which began a lifestyle revolution in the Polish society and was condemned by the communist party, the Catholic Church, and the censors.
Screening Time: Sunday, Nov. 5, 3:15 pm
Łukasz Simlat and Richard Karpala in attendance
Duration: 1hr 48 min.
Category: Crime, thriller
Director: Kasia Adamik
Screenwriter: Richard Karpala
Cinematography: Tomasz Naumiuk
Music: Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz
Producer: Beata Pisula
Co-production: Poland, Sweden, Germany
Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Łukasz Simlat, Zofia Wichłacz, Zbigniew Stryj, Mirosław Haniszewski
BBC, Time, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Le Figaro were only some among the main stream media that have reported the real murder case that inspired the film. The director, Kasia Adamik, heard that the accused Krystian Bala, is very good at manipulating people and made a decision that nobody involved in creating the film should meet or talk to him so they retain a full, untainted freedom of telling and interpreting the story.
A police inspector with a dark past receives an anonymous call and links an unsolved murder case from years ago with a newly-published book. In the course of the investigation he meets its author, a young philosopher. Their encounter will shed light on the case and will start an exciting duel of two very strong characters constantly balancing on the verge of good and evil. In an intriguing story where fiction mingles with reality and telling the difference between the truth and a lie becomes impossible, there can only be one winner. Kasia Adamik’s psychological thriller with charismatic, memorable roles played by actors of the young generation said that "Amok" is not about catching the murderer but about the birth of an obsession and falling into craziness/amok.
Spoor / Pokot, 2017
Silver Bear - Berlin International FF 2017
Alfred Bauer Prize - Berlin International FF 2017
Best Film - Cheval Noir- Fantasia Film Festival
Agnieszka Mandat-Grabka, Wiktor Zborowski, Jakub Gierszal, Patrycja Volny, Miroslav Krobot, Borys Szyc, Tomasz Kot.
“Spoor” means the track or trail of an animal that is being hunted, and tells the story of retired civil engineer, Duszejko, who has a penchant for astrology and lives a quiet life in a Polish mountain village on the Czech border, where she teaches English to children in her spare time. When her two dogs – her closest companions – go missing one day, Duszejko sets out to discover who is responsible for their disappearance. What unfolds is, as Holland describes it, an “anarchistic, feminist crime story with elements of black comedy”. Holland said she and the author Olga Tokarczuk – whose novel "Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead" inspired the film – had not set out to create a political film, but that they had inadvertently ended up telling a story about a male authoritarian agenda that attacked women’s rights and environmental protection, thereby reflecting the wider reality. She also said that her first foray into murder mystery had accidentally turned into an allegory of the divided society her native Poland has become under its populist nationalist government.
Agnieszka Holland’s 2017 film “Spoor” is Poland’s submission to the Oscar’s competition for the best foreign language film
Return of Agnieszka H. / Powrót Agnieszki H., 2013
Screening Time: Sunday, Nov. 5, 1 pm
Krystyna Krauze in attendance
Duration: 77 min.
Category: Biography, hisstory
Director: Krystyna Krauze, Jacek Petrycki
Script: Krystyna Krauze
Director of Photography: Jacek Petrycki
Music: Maria Bikont, Maciej Kazinski, Mikołaj Trzaska
Coproduction: Czech TV, Mazovia Film Fund, Polish TV
Agnieszka Holland, Jacek Petrycki, Andrzej Koszyk, Andrzej Zajączkowski, Irena Rybczyńska, Laco Adamik, Ivana Nováková, Zuzana Blühová, Milena Šajdková, Eda Kriseová, Arita Hucková,Jaroslava Pokorná, PhDr. Petr Blažek, Ph.D
A full feature co-production documentary about the famous Polish director Agnieszka Holland and her relationship to Czechoslovakia. It is a story about courage, fear, honesty and friendship.
The film has two basic story lines: It depicts the life of Agnieszka Holland during her studies at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague towards the end of the 1960’s, her friends, her participation in a student strike, and her arrest for supporting the dissident movement and anti-state tendencies. Few people know that she spent several months in jail for her student activities.The second story line follows her return visits from 1989 until her making a historical series called "Burning Bush"about the death of Jan Palach by self-immolation that affected her deeply.
Director Krystyna Krauze says about her film: “Our documentary has two layers. In the first one we follow Agnieszka Holland during her work on the Burning Bush series, in the second one we return to her wild youth. We depict the atmosphere during her studies at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and discuss the significant moments and decisions that subsequently influenced her work and life. We met her friends and people involved in the anti-communist activities (Laco Mravec, Zuzana Buhlová, Petr Uhl and Helena Stachová). Jacek Petrycki, the film’s co-author, is a long-time friend of the director, her peer and an excellent Polish cinematographer who was also a member of the dissident movement for many years. The documentary The Return of Agnieszka H. is a reflection on their common ideals and the need to live in freedom and truth. A reflection on an important life choice during a time of political pressure and ordinary human honesty during a time of totalitarianism.”
By Stanley For Stanley / Film dla Stasia, 2017
Screening Time: Saturday, Nov. 4, 4:30 pm
Duration: 54 min.
Director: Monika Meleń
Script: Monika Meleń
Cinematography: Roman Piotrowski
Music: Zygmunt Konieczny
A film for little Staś is recorded on an amateur camera by a grownup Stan. He's explaining slowly and patiently to the kid what is important in life, and how the boy could deal with the simplest life's activities that could be a problem for him. Stan is teaching Staś how to be strong and how to enjoy life and take from it as much as the boy would like. The grown-up Stan is an artist, painting pictures is his work and passion and he tries to pass it on little Staś. They are friends, although there is a big age difference between them. Both have disability which seemingly should make normal life difficult for them, but still every day they prove to each other and the world, that if one really wants, one can achieve anything. It is a film about strength and the joy of life.
Selling Out, 1971
Screening Time: Monday, Nov. 6, 6pm
Duration: 22 min.
Director: Tad Jaworski
A short documentary by Tad Jaworski was nominated for an Oscar in 1972 and won the Canadian Golden Etrog new Genie later that same year.
The film is a dramatization of a farmer’s last day on his ancestral farm on Prince Edward Island as he is faced with the Public Auction of his family home and possessions. On the one hand, it is a simple, poignant tale of personal loss, alienation and the displacement of the old at the end of life. On the other, it is a political statement about the loss of Canadian Heritage, land and economy to foreign capital. The film had the effect of mobilizing change to Canadian Law regarding the sale of land to foreigners.
Tamara's Tapestry World, 1975
Screening Time: Nov. 6, 6:30 pm
Duration: 20 min.
Category: Documentary, biography
Director: Tad Jaworski
This is a short film created for the CBC documenting the works and achievements of Tamara Jaworska, Tad Jaworsk’s wife. Tamara is a world renown tapestry artist , an international Golden Medalist with many international awards and accolades who in 1994 received the Order of Canada. In this film she muses about the way in which the Canadian landscape influences her work, what goes in to creating a tapestry and the way she works on her loom in her Toronto Willowdale studio.
The Eternal Wanderer / Wieczny tułacz, 2012
Screening Time: Saturday, Nov. 4, 1 pm
Duration: 52 min.
Category: Documentary, Biography
Director: Grzegorz Krolikiewicz
On September 21 at the age of 73 Polish Cinema lost an important and unique voice, independent filmmaker and director provocateur Grzegorz Krolikiewicz.
In 2010 the director was approached to make a documentary about TadeuszJaworski using clips from interviews that where filmed in Toronto. With the communist ban on Jaworski after 1968 and as a result of the passing of time there was limited information about his Canadian work in Poland. Krolikiewicz took upon the challenge to make a movie from mostly static material and tried to portray Jaworski through the lens of his varied experiences, obstacles and the humanism that defined his work.