Over the past year, Polish films have been screened at the world’s top-ranked film festivals, receiving numerous awards. Here are the five films featured most often in Culture.pl's articles throughout 2012.
Stills from Leszek Dawid's "You Are God", Andrzej Jakimowski's "Imagine", Anca Damian's "Crulic The Path to Beyond" and Wojciech Staron's "Argentinian Lesson", photo: Katarzyna Kural / Kino Świat, Fundacja Magellan, Kino Świat
Over the past year Polish films have been screened at the world’s top ranking film festivals, receiving numerous awards. Here are the 5 films that featured most often in Culture.pl's articles throughout 2012:
5. Andrzej Jakimowski – Imagine (alternative title Blind Watching)
A film in which love arises between two people who perceive the surrounding world in the same way. Ian and Eva are both blind. He man arrives at a prestigious institute in Lisbon offering to teach patients how to walk unassisted - as he has learn to - by being fully alert to sounds and smells and "imagining" the landscape through which one is walking. While the institute’s staff is very cautious of Ian's approach, Eva is eager to learn. Together they venture into the Lisbon streets without canes. Imagine is a Polish-French-Portuguese co-production with a Polish director, Andrzej Jakimowski. For his film, Jakimowski won Best Director Award at the 28th Warsaw Film Festival in October 2012, where the movie won the festival’s Audience Award. Imagine screened at prestigious festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and the 14th Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival in September, and the BFI London Film Festival in October. The film contnues to do festival rounds in 2013 with screenings at the 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival in January, the 36th Goteborg International Film Festival in January and February, and the 17th Busan International Film Festival in October 2013.
See Imagine Video Trailer.
4. Leszek Dawid – You Are God
Following the formation and rapid success of one of Poland's pioneering hip-hop collectives, Paktofonika, and the suicide of lead rapper Magik days after their first release, Leszek Dawid’s film is about Piotr "Magik" Łuszcz, Wojciech "Fokus" Alszer and Sebastian "Rahim" Salbert, three young men from Mikołów and Katowice who changed the Polish music scene, becoming the voice of a generation at the turn of the 21st century. The group released their album but soon felt the bitter taste of defeat - used by their first manager, they were left without money or guidance. They had to fight for survival in the face of the new Polish capitalism, and for saving their talents and sensibilities. Magik became a victim of this struggle, jumping one day out the window of his apartment block. You Are God was one of the most eagerly awaited Polish dramas of the year, and after three weeks in cinemas it became the most popular Polish film of the year, with 1,237,455 tickets sold (according to Poland Box Office). The production won three prizes at the Gdynia Film Festival 2012 and three Golden Ducks from the readers of Film magazine: Best Debut and Second Film Director, Best Professional Acting Debut and Best Actors in a Supporting Role. You Are God won Leszek Dawid the Best Director award at the 23rd Cottbus Film Festival in November. For his role as Magik, Marcin Kowalczyk received the 2013 Zbigniew Cybulski Award. The movie's U.K. premiere took place at London's West End Cineworld Haymarket in September and it screened across the island through mid-October 2012.
See You Are God Video Trailer.
3. Wojciech Smarzowski – Rose
A story about a love that flourishes out of the inhuman circumstances of the Second World War. She is German and Polish, living on the the former Polish-Prussian border in the Masuria region. During the war she was raped by soldiers, forced into prostitution by the Soviets, and is now treated with contempt by the district's new settlers, who look on her as a German. He is a Polish soldier of the Home Army whose wife was raped and killed by a German soldier during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. They meet in the summer of 1945. An insightful take on the history of Masuria and a story about the biological impulse of survival sparking the will to live and love again. Rose is one of Poland’s most awarded films in recent years; it has received six Gdynia Film Festival Golden Lions, the award for Best Film at the 27th Warsaw Film Festival, and seven Eagles, the main Polish film awards, among others. It continues garnering awards at international film festivals, for Marcin Dorociński, who received Best Actor at the Porto International Film Festival, and the Silver Peacock award at the International Film Festival of India in Goa.
See Rose Video Trailer.
2. Anca Damian – Crulic The Path to Beyond
A film combining animation techniques, fiction and documentary to tell the true story of the physical and mental demise of a young Romanian unjustly accused of theft and sent to prison in Poland in 2007. His four-month hunger strike – a desperate cry for attention - led to his death. "The story of an individual's solitude in the face of the system", as Polish co-producer Arkadiusz Wojnarowski puts it. Directed by Romanian filmmaker Anca Damian, who undertook research in Poland and Romania to shed light on his story, Crulic received attention from international film-festival programmers through 2012. Among its numerous awards are Best Full Length Animation at Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2012, the Don Quixote Award and and Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Film Festival in Locarno, and the Ecumenical Jury Prize and Special Mention of the International Jury at the Cottbus Film Festival.
See Crulic The Path to Beyond Video Trailer.
1. Wojciech Staroń – Argentinian Lesson
The 8-year-old Polish boy Janek travels to Argentina with his parents, where his developing friendship with a girl named Marcia narrows the gap between heterogeneous cultures. The children become mediators of two exotic worlds. The filmmaker Wojciech Staroń carefully follows their challenges: different languages, strange customs and a school in the middle of the rain forest. Argentinian Lesson is one of the most internationally awarded Polish documentary films of 2012. The film took the Silver Dove at the 54th DOK Leipzig in 2012, the Best Director Prize at the 52nd Festival dei Popoli in Florence and the Grand Prize of the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in Canton, and received the Spotlight Award for Staroń from the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, Best Documentary Award at the Let's CEE Film Festival in Vienna, and the Grand Prize for Best Medium Length film at the Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal Festival in Montreal.
See Argentinian Lesson's Video Trailer.
See more on Polish cinema and beyond at: http://www.culture.pl/web/english/film
Author: Marta Jazowska