Receiving altogether four awards, Marcin Krzyształowicz’s Manhunt is considered by Polish critics the best Polish movie of the last years. Granting winners an invitation to become members of the European Film Academy, the Polish Film Academy gives out the Polish Eagles.
Still from Marcin Krzyształowicz's "Manhunt", photo: Kino Świat
Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Costumes and Best Sound, Manhunt, the thrilling WWII drama starring Marcin Dorociński is the top winner of the Polish Film Academy awards. "In contrast to his competitors (Leszek Dawid with You Are God, Wojtek Smarzowski with Traffic Department and Władysław Pasikowski with Aftermath), Krzyształowicz created an excellent film." Bartosz Staszczyszyn writes in an article for culture.pl, "A morality play set in the realities of the Second World War, it’s a story about a partisan executioner who stands before a difficult moral choice. The film is an obscure portray; of the evil hidden in human beings. With images of lurching half-shadows, and a well-written script, Manhunt is one of the best Polish movies of the last years." In a mysterious forest, several stories unfold: Corporal Wydra's (Marcin Dorociński) has a mission to assasinate a spy - Kondolwiecz, who turns out to be an old friend of his, and Corporal Wydra has dormant feeling for Kondolewicz's wife.
In Arkadiusz Tomiak’s lens the forest becomes a deadly trap inhabited by animal-like phantoms suspended between life and death, the blowing wind, cracking branches and the sound of the approaching German manhunt build suspense thanks to sound specialists Barbara Domaradzka and Piotr Domaradzki. The murky, double-faced characters whose actions do not fit into the roles that they play in the ongoing war are dressed by Magdalena Rutkiewicz-Luterek.
The Polish Film Academy has been awarding the Eagles – the Polish Film Awards annually since 1999. They are considered to be the Polish equivalent of the French Cesars, the Czech Lions or the Spanish Goi Awards. The Eagles are divided into 17 categories and the award receivers are invited to become members of the European Film Academy which gives away the European Film Prizes. The Polish Eagles are under the honorary patronage of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Bogdan Zdrojewski, are supported by the Polish Film Institute (PISF) and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and are organised for the Polish Film Academy by the Independent Film Foundation.
The rest of the 2013 Eagle awards were divided among three of the most popular Polish films of 2012: You Are God, Traffic Department and Aftermath. The best Director Award was granted to Roman Polański for the laugh-out-loud caricature of the passive-aggressive tendencies of society and deceiving appearances – Carnage. "A display of directorial craftsmanship", Staszczyszyn comments, "taking place in the closed space of an apartment, featuring only four characters – Carnage sparks with humour simultaneously discreetly performing an analysis of interhuman relations based on domination of social classes, the sense of guilt and gender stereotypes."
Wojtek Smarzowski, the director of The Wedding and Rose, won Best Scriptwriter for Traffic Department. A somber story about a murder case, the secrets and the filth of everyday police work, the film is set in the darkest Warsaw streets. Playing the part of Józef, a farmer from a village in the Masurian Lake District who has been pushed aside by the other inhabitants in Władysław Pasikowski’s Aftermath, Maciej Stuhr, is named best Actor. In the film Józef reconstructs a Jewish cemetery with matzeivahs (Jewish gravestones) and thereby angers other villagers. Aftermath’s set designer Allan Starski received the Award for Best Set Designer.
The 2013 Eagle Public Award went to Leszek Dawid’s look at the struggle for success of three young musicians in a troubled environment – You Are God. In the film the director draws a portrait of Polish capitalism in the 1990s and talks about a phenomenon in Polish music - Paktofonika, one of Poland's pioneer hip-hop collectives. His film was a major success at the 2012 Gdynia Awards and attracted a viewership of over a half a milion. The film also received a special mention from the Polish Film Academy which awarded Jarosław Kamiński for Best Editing.
For the first time there were Eagles in the Documentary film category. The main prize went to Jacek Bławut for Virtual War – a collective portrait of enthousiasts who through the technology of their computer flight simulators take part in virtual wars. "A story about passion that gives meaning to life, a story about sacrifice and friendship, it marks a farewell with a master of contemporary documentaries. Bławut, who directed Szczur w koronie / Rat in a Crown, Born Dead and Wojownik / Warrior announced that Virtual War was the last documentary film of his career.", as per Staszczyszyn.
While Danuta Szaflarska, the 1915 born actress often called the legend of Polish cinema received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the jazz virtuoso Michał Urbaniak was named Discovery of the Year for his role in Potr Trzaskalski’s My Father’s Bike.
FULL LIST OF AWARDS:
• Best Film: Marcin Krzyształowicz – Manhunt
• Best Director: Roman Polański – Carnage
• Best Script: Wojciech Smarzowski – Traffic Department
• Documentary Film: Jacek Bławut – Virtual War
• Public Award: Leszek Dawid – You Are God
• Best Lead Male Role: Maciej Stuhr in Władysław Pasikowski’s Aftermath
• Best Lead Female Role: Agnieszka Grochowska in Filip Marczewski’s Shameless
• Best Editing: Jarosław Kamiński for Leszek Dawid’s You Are God
• Best Supporting Male Role: Arkadiusz Jakubik in Wojciech Smarzowski’s Traffic Department
• Best Supporting Female Role: Joanna Kulig in Małgorzata Szumowska’s Elles
• Best Cosutmes: Magdalena Rutkiewicz-Luterek in Marcin Krzyształowicz’s Manhunt
• Best Cinematography: Arkadiusz Tomiak in Marcin Krzyształowicz’s Manhunt
• Best Set Design: Allan Starski in Władysław Pasikowski’s Aftermath
• Best Sound: Barbara Domaradzka, Piotr Domaradzki in Marcin Krzyształowicz’s Manhunt
• Best Music: Krzysztof Komeda, Mariusz Ostański for Komeda, Komeda...
• Discovery of the Year: Michał Urbaniak for his role in Piotr Trzaskalski’s My Father’s Bike
• Best European Film: Michael Haneke - Amour
Author: Bartosz Staszczyszyn, translation and edits by Marta Jazowska