The years 2010 to 2015 were particularly fruitful for Polish filmmakers. Below we've highlighted some of the top award-winning features from this period, all of them having received prizes at film festivals around the world.
Ida – Paweł Pawlikowski
An Oscar-winning film about the Holocaust, Stalinism, and how history breaks moral backbones, all told through the story of a young nun and her aunt, a Stalin-era judge known as Bloody Wanda.
Papusza – Krzysztof Krauze & Joanna Kos-Krauze
A true story taken from the pre-war era about Polish-Romani poet and singer Bronisława Wajs, also known as Papusza. Clear, terse, meticulous, the film summons feelings of loneliness and illustrates the role of art.
Manhunt – Marcin Krzyształowicz
A thriller that is both a WWII drama about the evil that lurks in humans and a morality play about universal values – the film's characters are ruthless and brutal but only in the name of patriotism and loyalty.
In Darkness – Agnieszka Holland
The Oscar-nominated story of a sewer worker nicknamed ‘the Polish Schindler’ who risked his life to save Jews in the Lviv ghetto. The film defies the black-and-white boundaries of good vs. evil and is based on a book by Krystyna Chimer, one of the people he saved.
Rose – Wojciech Smarzowski
Smarzowski pulls off a love story between a Home Army soldier and a woman whose husband died in the war, all while illustrating the horrors of World War II and its aftermath.
Erratum – Marek Lechki
Shot on a shoestring budget, Lechki's sincere, simple and truthful film is the story of a thirty-year-old man who returns to his home village to face his childhood traumas.
Life Feels Good – Maciej Pieprzyca
The first Polish feature to deal with disability is about a man with cerebral palsy who fights for dignity against all the odds stacked against him. With a brilliant performance by Dawid Ogrodnik, the film has been compared to Jim Sheridan's My Left Foot and Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
Imagine – Andrzej Jakimowski
A love story about two blind people who achieve the impossible. This touching tale is a beautiful drama full of subtlety and tenderness.
Floating Skyscrapers – Tomasz Wasilewski
The first Polish film about homosexuality blazed a new trail in the country’s cinema with its dramatic story about intolerance and homophobia
Girl From The Wardrobe – Bodo Kox
Called the Polish Rain Man, this tragicomedy reminds us that we are all freaks, that we all have our own little dramas, longings and fears.
Aftermath – Władysław Pasikowski
One of the most controversial films of recent years is a thriller about a Polish village with a dark secret. An important picture about anti-Semitism, the film’s wide appeal gives it the power to influence how audiences view Polish history.
Essential Killing – Jerzy Skolimowski
The action-packed story of an Afghan prisoner who escapes a secret European CIA prison. It was written by 72-year old Skolimowski in a couple of days, after he heard media accounts of secret CIA prisons in Poland.
The Mill and the Cross – Lech J. Majewski
Perhaps the most unique Polish film of the last decade stars Rutger Hauer, Charlotte Rampling and Michael York. Having taken three years to make, the film uses CGI technology to bring to life Pieter Bruegel's epic 1564 painting The Procession to Calvary.
Body – Małgorzata Szumowska
A bold, wise and funny film that explores all sides of the word ‘body’ through the story of an alcoholic prosecutor, his grown-up anorexic daughter, and a therapist who believes she possesses the power to communicate with the dead.
Red Spider – Marcin Koszałka
A shocking film about a Polish serial killer set the communist 1960s era, partly based on the true story of Karol Kot, who was one of the youngest serial killers ever and a media celebrity.