Three Polish titles garnered a total of four awards at Belarus's most significant film festival in Minsk. The prizes went to a feature film, "Czarny czwartek" / "Black Thursday" directed by Antoni Krauze and two documentaries: Piotr Stasik's "Koniec lata" ("The End of Summer") and "Argentyńska lekcja" ("Argentine Lesson") directed by Wojciech Staroń
Poster for "Czarny czwartek. Janek Wiśniewski padł"
Three Polish titles garnered a total of four awards at Belarus's most significant film festival in Minsk. The prizes went to a feature film, "Black Thursday" directed by Antoni Krauze and two documentaries: Piotr Stasik's "The End of Summer" and "Argentine Lesson" directed by Wojciech Staroń
The 18th edition of the Listapad film festival showcased a selection of the best in contemporary Polish cinema and documentary films. The works of Polish filmmakers were screened in Minsk between the 6th and 12th of November. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Elena” opened the 18th edition of the festival on the 5th of November. The film won the 'Un Certain Regard' distinction at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.
The most exciting win of the evening was the international jury's special prize for Antoni Krauze's "Black Thursday" for its "very clear artistic expression in depicting a dramatic moment of our common history". Marta Honzatko, who played the role of Stefania, Brunon's wife in "Black Thursday", took home the picture's second prize for Best Actress. The film tells the story of dramatic incidents which took place in Gdynia in 1970, when demonstrators were brutally pacified by the army and communist police forces. The Belarussian audience showed great interest in the story behind this film, and many of the viewers took part in an invigorating discussion with the film's set designer, Michał Pruski. The audience pointed to parallels between those incidents in Poland of the 1970s and their own history. The news of the award for Krauze's picture met with a very emotional response, and the jury's decision was seen as a statement of its political indepence.
The announcement of the win brought about a certain measure of consternation among Belarus's politicians and the granting of the award has been scheduled to take place in Warsaw on the 28th of August. The ceremony takes place at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute at 3 p.m. Festival director Igor Sukmanow is to honour the film's director Antoni Krauze and actress Marta Honzatko.
The feature film section also included screenings of such titles as Marek Lechki's "Erratum" is also on the programme, telling the story of a man who struggles with past regrets. Other films from Poland include "Suicide Room", "Tricks", "Dark House"and "Little Rose", along with "Sztuczki" ("Tricks") by Andrzej Jakimowski, and "Dom zły"("Evil House") by Wojciech Smarzowski.
The documentary film by Piotr Stasik, "The End of Summer" garnered the award for mastery which the young director showed in painting a portrait of contemporary Russian countryside. The "Argentine Lesson" by Wojciech Staroń was hailed the best documentary film.Staroń follows in the footsteps of the hero of his past "Siberian Lesson" - a young teacher, who moves from Russia to Argentina together with her husband and young son. While the mother continues her work as a teacher, the camera watches the little boy's attempt at adapting to a new country.
The festival also presented "Toys", "Art of Freedom" and "Political Dress" - three chapters of the five-part series on how the Polish character was shaped by the hardships of the communist regime and the ways in which art, music, fashion, sport and play helped them to overcome these obstacles. The films explore how Polish youngsters discovered independence, liberal thinking and creativity with a few twigs and some wire, how one's appearance was a personal manifest for liberty and how Polish mountain climbers managed to become the best in the world in spite of meager funds and equipment shortages.
A group of Belarussian alpinists was present at the "Art of Freedom"screenings and participated in the talk with Marek Kłosowicz. They keenly admitted that the Polish climbers, such as Andrzej Zawada and Jerzy Kukuczka are living legends of mountain climbing.
What distinguished Poles from the rest of Europe, from those on the other side of the 'iron curtain' and how did those experiences shape who Poles are today?
The very first chapter in the series - "Beats of Freedom", which takes audiences through a history of rock and roll in those tumultuous times - is also screened at the festival as part of the Dragon Forum workshop series for young documentary filmmakers, along with Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz's "I Love Poland" and Carolina Belyavskaya's "Get Warsaw". Screenings take place on the 8th of November.
See more on the Dragon Forum series in Minsk
"Toys", dir. Andrzej Wolski, 6.11, 19:00
"Political Dress", dir. Judyta Fibiger, 7.11, 21:00
"Art of Freedom", dir. Wojciech Słota and Marek Kłosowicz, 11.11, 21:00
"Erratum", fit. Marek Lechki, 6.11, 20:00
"Zero", dir. Paweł Borowski, 6.11, 21:00
"Tricks", dir. Andrzej Jakimowski, 7.11, 21:30,
"Suicide Room", dir. Jan Komasa, 7.11, 13:00
"Black Thursday", dir. Antoni Kraze, 9.11, 21:00,
"Tricks", dir. Andrzej Jakimowski, 9.11, 21:00,
"Dark House", dir. Wojciech Smarzowski, 10.11, 16:00,
"Suicide Room", dir. Jan Komasa, 10.11, 18:30,
"Little Rose", dir. Jan Kidawa Błoński, 12.11, 19:00.
Date: 6-12 November, 2011.
Venue: Cinemas in Minsk
Organised by: Instytut Adama Mickiewicza.
In partnership with: Polish Institute in Minsk, Polish Film Institute, Listapad Film Festival, Chimeny Pot, Art Corporation