Kocham! 9 Polish Films About Love
9 Polish Films About Love, imagine andrzeja jakimowskiego 1_6562905.jpg, Alexandra Maria Lara and Edward Hogg in the movie ‘Imagine’, photo: Kinó Świat, center
The true love of a Polish Romeo and Juliet, the story of a famous actress who sold her soul for a man’s salvation, and a movie about spying on and falling in love with the girl next door. Culture.pl has culled together for you a set of Polish films about a most important feeling.
The fact that we can read these and other lines, is a gift of fate. The heroes of Andrzej Jakimowski’s film Imagine are deprived of that ability. They are in a special institution for the blind. These children, teenagers and adults can’t admire verdant foliage, striking roses or a plump red apple, yet they feel everything. Their sense of touch is 100 times stronger than people with sight. They ‘see’ what our eyes stopped noticing a long time ago.
For a large part of the movie, the heroes teach us to love the world around us. They open our eyes and compel us to notice things that we haven’t given thought to in a long time.
Imagine is not a classic love story where at the beginning of the film a man and a woman meet, fall in love with each other, and then face trials which they overcome with virtue. It's a movie about the desire to live, to feel, to be complete. It is a movie in which love of two people becomes the reward for pain, failures, and incredible courage. The heroes walk through the dark tunnel of their lives not afraid to falter, and therefore they find each other.
The last scene of the movie, lasting all of 6 minutes, is a masterpiece. It will grab your heart and bring tears to your eyes. It’s no wonder that director Andrzej Jakimowski dedicated this movie to his wife. Such fragile experiences, such delicate love can only be given to a beloved sweetheart.
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Anatomy of Love (1972)
Anatomy of Love is required viewing for everyone who appreciates the acting talent of Barbara Brylska, well-known for her iconic role in the famous Soviet film Irony of Fate (Ирония судьбы).
In the movie Anatomy of Love, Brylska plays the young widow Ewa, who has just buried her husband after seven loveless years. At an exhibition, Ewa meets Adam and invites him to her house where they spend the night together. Love, happiness, passion, the price of jealousy – Brylska brilliantly portrays it all in the frame of her heroine. Some cruel tongues in Poland joked about this subject: ‘Brylska knows this topic very well,’ said one – when the film came out, the actress had already been married twice, had had affairs with actors, and was even ready to drop everything and elope with her lover to Yugoslavia. Happily for us, the audience, she didn’t leave after all, going on to perform wonderfully in this and other films.
It is also interesting to note that the movie Anatomy of Love was revolutionary for Polish film. Such explicit sex scenes had never been shown in Poland before.
Sexmission – Juliusz Machulski
A Short Film About Love (1988)
Film with capital letters. If you see this movie once, you’ll never forget it. The main hero of A Short Film About Love by the classic Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski is 19-year-old Tomek, who was raised in an orphanage. Many would call him crazy or creepy – every day the young man spies through his telescope on 30-year-old beauty Magda, who lives in the house across the street. From Monday to Friday, he sets his alarm clock to 20:30 so that he doesn’t miss her returning home. He observes how she gets dressed and undressed, how she eats sandwiches and drinks milk, and becomes a secret witness to how the woman has sex with different men. This last act Tomek can’t easily watch due to his love for the object of his observation.
The life of the heroes of A Short Film About Love flips on its head when Tomek decides to step out of the shadows and talk to Magda about himself and his weakness.
The iconic Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni confessed in one of his interviews: he loves this Kieślowski film so much that he has seen it twelve times. Not everyone can handle so many viewings of such a difficult film, yet even just one viewing of A Short Film About Love is well worth it.
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I’ll Show You! (2006)
If you’re a lover of family drama, this film is for you. The main heroine Judyta, often called the Polish Bridget Jones, is finally happy: she has a beautiful house, a cat, a dog, a beautiful daughter and a wonderful boyfriend called Adam. Judyta and Adam plan on getting married, but first Adam must spend six months in the United States on a scholarship. Then Judyta’s former husband appears on the horizon and that’s where the problems begin.
The main male role (the journalist Adam) is played by one of the most popular Polish actors of the new generation, Paweł Deląg. Deląg can be confidently called both a talented and successful artist. His first role was in Stephen Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List. Today the actor has nearly fifty films on his resume.
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All That I Love (2009)
‘All That I Love’, directed by Jacek Borcuch, photo: press materials
All That I Love is the story of a Romeo and Juliet in the time of Solidarity. The main hero of director Jacek Borcuch’s film is high school senior Janek, whose father is a communist party member. The father of Janek’s beloved Basia is a participant in the legendary union movement. Thanks to the love of these young people, two hostile, alien worlds cross paths, and nothing good follows. The first kisses, first meetings, first love of Janek and Basia is placed in a complicated historical context: everything happens during the period of martial law in Poland. Passion and hatred, hope and hopelessness, life and death go together here in pairs.
While watching this movie, pay special attention to Andrzej Chyra’s performance as Janek’s father. He is one of the best Polish actors and can play anything on the screen or on the set: a soldier, a homosexual priest, or a pious father of a family.
The music for the film was written by the virtuoso pianist Leszek Możdżer, yet another reason to watch.
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How to Be Loved (1963)
Some pilots say that during their first flight, their life flashes before their eyes. No one can prove the truth of that theory, but something similar happens to Felicja, the main heroine of the movie How to Be Loved. Sitting on a plane flying from Warsaw to Paris, she begins to remember the year 1939, the beginning of the war and her great love. Wiktor was a famous actor, while she had taken her first steps in her own career. Felicja was ready to do anything for her lover’s happiness: she sold her soul for the salvation of her beloved man, and for the next five years she risked her life by hiding Wiktor in her apartment. ‘I gave him a hundred times greater than what a woman can give a man, then, when the danger passed, he left,’ Felicja tells the viewer. The heroine sacrificed herself, did everything in her power, but she neither became happy nor did she find the answer to the question ‘how to be loved’.
Wojciech Jerzy Has’s picture is an undisputed masterpiece of Polish cinematography. The main roles in it are brilliantly performed by Barbara Krafftówna and Zbigniew Cybulski. Many critics call Krafftówna’s efforts the best female role of Polish cinema. How to Be Loved asks questions, forces the mind to think, and makes the heart feel and sympathise.
How to Be Loved directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has - Image Gallery
Planet Single (2016)
‘Planet Single’, directed by Mitja Okorn, photo: Hubert Komerski / Kino Świat
Planet Single is the perfect film to watch with your significant other on Valentine’s Day. Just be forewarned that this film will not change your life or force you to think about its vicissitudes. The director of the picture, Mitja Okorn, pursues a more mundane purpose – entertaining the viewer. And it must be said that he succeeds 100%.
The main heroine of the comedy, Ania the music teacher, has been searching dating websites for the ideal man. On Valentine’s Day, she has her first date. The potential suitor, however, stands her up at the restaurant, and instead, she starts talking with Tomek, a famous showman and popular television host. The show business star is so charmed by the young but old-fashioned schoolteacher’s spontaneity, that he invites her onto his show. Ania will go on dates with men from the Internet, and Tomek will make television sketches about her unlucky encounters. Through the irony of fate, Ania just happens to meet the ideal man on one of these dates… however, this is not well-received by the producers, as a happy ending was not in their plans.
The romantic comedy Planet Single was so popular in Poland, that on Valentine’s Day 2016 more than half a million cinema tickets were purchased to see it. The picture also became the most popular comedy of 2016 in Slovenian cinemas. Put your cynicism aside and just watch it! Even if you don’t have a special someone to watch it with.
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Love or Leave (1977)
Village friends Władysław Kargul and Kazimierz Pawlak are going to the United States. They were invited there by Kazimierz’s brother, who was forced to leave Poland after the war. Kazimierz’s granddaughter, Ania, who is also on the trip, plans to earn enough money in America to buy what was the dream of millions of Poles at that time – a brand new Fiat. Karguliak wants to see the world, but Pawlak just wants to visit his brother. But when the Poles arrive on the distant continent, no one is waiting for them.
This comedic film was shot during the communist period in Poland, so it did not avoid censorship. For example, censors removed a scene in which US presidential candidate Jimmy Carter nods his head to the movie’s main hero during a parade. Today it is funny, but then the censors decided that such scenes could have a negative impact on international relations between Poland and the USA.
Many people are pleasantly surprised by the main heroine of Sylwester Chęciński’s film, as played by Anna Dymna who also starred in the 1982 Polish film The Quack. The phrase that is used for the title of the film is spoken by Dymna’s heroine at the very beginning of the comedy to her husband. Will she love him after his insane voyage, or, having seen beautiful and wealthy America, will she throw him out?
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Little Moscow (2008)
‘Little Moscow’, directed by Waldemar Krzystek, photo: press-materials
Poland has its own ‘Little Moscow’. This is what the inhabitants of Legnica call their home city, a place where Soviet troops were based for half a century. In the 1960s, Soviet soldiers and members of their families made up half of the city’s inhabitants. The story of one such family formed the basis of this film.
The main heroine of the movie, Wiera, has been in Poland for 5 years with her husband, Jura, a Soviet captain. Meanwhile, the backdrop of the film is of course the Cold War between the USSR and USA, in which the Polish People’s Republic supports their ‘brother Soviets’. For historical reasons, many Poles and Russians dislike each other, yet everything looks fine on the outside: in Legnica, joint Polish-Soviet cultural events take place. At one of these, Wiera meets Michał. The Polish soldier and the Russian woman fall passionately in love, which leads to a terrible tragedy.
They say that there is just one step from love to hatred. However, this film demonstrates that one step can also bring a person from hatred to love.
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a short film about love
Originally written in Russian, Feb 2017, translated by KA, Mar 2017