The line-up for Poland's autumn 2013 cinema calendar.
Jowita Budnik as Papusza, photo: Krzysztof Ptak/next-film
Lech Wałęsa and the Romani poet Papusza’s lives, Roman Polański’s erotic comedy, a psychological drama about a homosexual priest, an alternative history of the Second World War and Maciej Pieprzyca’s touching Life Feels Good: all brought to screens from Poland in autumn 2013.
Papusza was the nickname of Bronisława Wajs, the first Roma poet to achieve widespread recognition. Her history is used by the directors as a point of departure for their story about art - at times both a curse and a blessing, and the understanding it allows you to gather on the world can cause pain.
Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze spent years preparing for shooting their film and the result of their efforts can be seen on the screen. Papusza features not a single random scene or false note. Excellent performances come from Antoni Pawlicki as the poet's champion Jerzy Ficowski, Jowita Budnik as Papusza and Zbigniew Waleryś as her husband.
Krzysztof Ptak and Wojciech Staroń, directors of photography, are responsible for the film’s crystal-clear form, slow pace and dazzling black-and-white imagery.
Papusza by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauz is set for release on the 5th of November.
In the Name of...
Małgośka Szumowska’s film isn’t trying to showcase gay activism, but instead fights for the protagonist. He's a priest who is reassigned from a Warsaw parish to one in a Masurian village. Here Father Adam creates a space for marginalised kids and ends up struggling with feelings he’s developed for one boy.
Dieter Kosslick, director of a Berlin festival, described the film as a "very valid comment on the current situation in the church". But Szumowska is not concerned with publicity, scandal or pertinence. Her film is a drama about failure and a story about a man tormented by passions and attempting to control his sexuality. Andrzej Chyra’s performance gives the movie a huge advantage. He is one of the best actors to come out of European cinema in recent years.
W imie... (In the Name of...) will be released on the 20th of September.
Venus in Furs
Still from Venus in Fur directed by Roman Polański, photo: festival-cannes.fr
Just as in his Carnage, Polański adapts a theatrical play to the silver screen. Venus in Furs is based on the award-winning Broadway play by David Ives. Ives' script was inspired by the novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, from whose name the word masochism is derived.
The erotic comedy is about a director who becomes enslaved by lust when hearing an actress read for the role he is trying to cast. ''One room. Two actors. It's enough to make a masterpiece" wrote Marcin Pietrzyk on the web portal Filmweb, following the Cannes Film festival, where Venus in Furs was among important, widely discussed films of the 2013 festival. Polański, continuing to play ironically with his own biography, cast his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, in the role of the seductive actress and Mathieu Amalric, an actor who could pass for his twin, as the unfortunate director.
Venus in Furs will have its Polish premier on the 8th of November.
Life Feels Good
Love and the will to live, combined with tenacity and fortitude. Maciej Pieprzyca’s film is full of irony and sensitivity and the images are unabashedly unpretentious and well executed.
Mathew was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth and doctors claimed he would live life in a vegetative state. However, his parents never accepted the diagnosis. After years the young man is sent to an institution where he must fight for the right to lead a normal life.
Chce się żyć / Life Feels Good has already received three awards from the prestigious Montreal Film Festival, making Pieprzyca’s film the most successful feat of Polish cinema in recent years. The performance by David Ogrodnik caught the attention of critics and audiences in particular. His embodiment of the main character is being compared to the Oscar-winning performance of Daniel Day-Lewis in Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot.
The film will be released on the 11th of October - and on the 4th of September, the novel under the same title will be available for purchase.
When I am a spectator, and I look at cinema only as a spectator, I am looking for intimacy, closeness and truth. Floating Skyscrapers is a film about a man. It's a film about love, family and relationships, how they can be controlled, or fight for themselves and their families. The unused opportunities and lost dreams. It’s about the possibility of us falling victim to contemporary reality.
Director Tomasz Wasilewski had these words for the Polish Film Institute about his new film, which was chosen as one of the winners of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2013 and has already been screened at festivals in New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Montreal and Teipei. Its wide reach is also encouraged through the film’s ability to emphasize emotional truth over shallow journalism on themes of homosexuality.
Plynace wiezowce / Floating Skyscrapers is scheduled for release on the 15th of November.
Wałęsa. Man of Hope
Andrzej Wajda says that only he would be able to make a biographical film about the life and trials of Lech Wałęsa. He undertook the task to explain to younger Polish generations - and to the world - the significance of the man behind the legend. Człowiek z nadziei / Man of Hope concludes the trilogy he began three decades ago with Człowiekiem z marmuru / Man of Marble, awarded in Cannes, and with Człowiekiem z żelaza / Man of Iron. The trilogy covers the story of the Solidarity union in Poland of the 1980s and the fight against the communist regime, ending in 1989 with the nation's first post-war free elections.
In contrast to his early films, in which the director revised national mythology that tended to be built on romanticism, this time Wajda does less adjusting and more uniting. "It has become a serious monument [to Wałęsa], but has flaws. You could call the set Wałęsa. The man", writes Zdzisław Pietrasik in Polityka magazine.
The film is scheduled to premier on the 4th of October.
Juliusz Machulski takes audiences on a journey through time to deliver some jokes about Hitler and a story about how history could have turned out in Poland. With almost every element needed to make a lousy film, the director's latest work manages to defend its on-screen charm. Much of the defence is put up by the comedic performance of Robert Więckiewicz who ironically plays Hitler.
AmbaSSada will be released on the 18th of October.
Sources: Filmweb, Polityka, Polish Film Institute, author: BS 09/09/2013
Translation: SMG 10/09/2013