A Silver Bear for Agnieszka Holland and a Crystal Bear for Rafał Kapeliński’s Butterfly Kisses, as well as awards for up-and-coming Polish actress Zofia Wichłacz and director Kuba Czekaj. Polish cinema triumphed at the 67th Berlinale International Film Festival.
Agnieszka Holland wins a Silver Bear
Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik’s Spoor turned out to be not only one the most controversial and talked about films of this year’s Berlinale – but also one the most successful ones. The film, based on Olga Tokarczuk’s novel Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead, also won a Silver Bear for its search for a new perspective in cinema and its unusual take on reality.
Spoor tells the story of a single 60-year-old woman, who takes up the fight for animal rights and declares war on hunters. It is a combination of a crime story and a fairy tale, an ecological thriller and a dark comedy. Holland’s movie is the next in a series of Polish films to win in Berlinale’s main competition – after Małgorzata Szumowska’s Body (2015) and Tomasz Wasilewski’s United States of Love (2016). And it was not the only Polish movie to be recognised this year.
Butterfly Kisses win in Berlin
One of the most pleasant surprises of this year's Berlinale was the success of Rafał Kapeliński – Polish director, screenwriter and lecturer at the Central Film School in London and the London Film School, associated with the Camerimage Festival for many years. Kapeliński had to wait a long time for his feature debut. Even though his short film Emilia Cries (2006) won numerous awards at film festivals in Gdynia, Austin, Oberhausen and Seattle, he only had the opportunity to work on his full-length feature film ten years later. The film was shot in the United Kingdom with an extremely small budget and stars only amateur actors.
Butterfly Kisses is about a young man who discovers he has an unhealthy erotic fascination. In his black and white film, Kapeliński tells the story of three friends from a housing estate in London, about entering into adulthood, leaving childhood behind and finally – paedophilia.
The Polish director received an award for the Best Film in the Genereation14plus section, which is devoted to films about issues concerning youth. In the jury’s justification, we read:
Without resorting to simple accusations, Kapeliński’s film confronts us with a problem that our society has not been able to cope with.
A Baumi Award for Kuba Czekaj
Trailer for The Erlprince, directed by Kuba Czekaj from Studio Munka on Vimeo.
Kuba Czekaj received the Baumi Award for his screenplay concept. Czekaj is a director and screenwriter, creator of the movies Baby Bump and The Erlprince. The award, commemorating the late Karl Baumgartner, one of Germany’s most prominent film producers, includes a 20,000 euro grant for the development of his screenplay Sorry, Polsko (Sorry, Poland), the story of a disillusioned 40-year-old dancer.
Our Shooting Star Zofia Wichłacz
Zofia Wichłacz, one of Poland’s rising stars, also received an award in Berlin. Along with nine other young actors and actresses from Europe, Wichłacz was awarded the title of Shooting Star 2017. Granting her the title, the jury stated:
Zofia lights up the screen with her cheerful compassion and inner energy and stays with you long after the lights go out. Not only do we want to see her in the future, we have to.
Wichłacz was awarded along with artists from Denmark (Esben Smed), Italy (Alessandro Borghi), Germany (Louis Hofmann), Latvia (Elina Vaska), the Netherlands (Hannah Hoekstra), Portugal (Victoria Guerra), Romania (Tudor Aaron Istodor), Slovenia (Marusa Majer) and Sweden (Karin Franz Korlof).
The 21-year-old actress is known for her roles in Jan Komasa’s Warsaw 44 and Andrzej Wajda’s Afterimage, and will soon be on screen yet again in Kasia Adamik’s Amok.
Sources: Gazeta Wyborcza, Filmpolski.pl, own materials; originally written in Polish, translated by NR, 20 Feb 2017