Two Polish films in the main competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival have won awards. Michał Marczak’s All These Sleepless Nights received the Directing Award in the World Cinema Documentary category, while The Lure was bestowed the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Unique Vision and Design.
All These Sleepless Nights is a Polish-British co-production, which had its world premiere at Sundance. Michał Marczak, the director of the infamous Fuck For Forest, tells an intimate story about two twenty-year-olds as they roam Warsaw’s streets, clubs and apartments.
When receiving the Directing Award, Marczak said:
Making a film about feelings, the most important thing is to have a great time with the entire crew. For two years, we lived together, and it’s impacted us immensely.
The Guardian newspaper gave All These Sleepless Nights four out of five stars. Review Lana Bakare wrote:
…the film is essentially a series of journal entries, but one which shows the ephemeral nature of youthful abandon and the value of the adage “a weekend wasted is never a weekend wasted”. Warsaw’s tourism industry officials will be over the moon too, as the film makes the Polish city look not only like a riot but a beautiful gem in eastern Europe’s crown.
The other Sundance award-winner, The Lure, is a story about two mermaid-sisters who work at a night club in Warsaw in the late 1980s. Their lives require bloodthirsty decisions, when one of them falls in love with a beautiful, young man.
In The Verge’s review of The Lure, Emily Yoshida wrote:
It's the first feature from Polish director Agnieszka Smoczyńska, and the fact that it exists at all is inspiring — the fact that it's gorgeous, rendered in lurid neon and dingy Miami Vice pastels, makes it go down even easier. Smoczyńska is surely a fan of the 1960s Japanense cult horror film House; her film has a similar give-no-fucks combination of violence, eroticism, and musical sequences. Its matriarchal narrative — the struggles and rivalries are between women, the men are all dolts, victims, or playthings — makes what could have easily been exploitative in the hands of another director feel more like a psychedelically gynocentric safe space.
Meanwhile, Ethan Anderton of Slash Film insisted that:
…one must give Smoczynska credit for knowing how to shoot a gorgeous film that is sexy, creepy and just the right amount of weird to keep your attention, even if you don’t know why. Each musical break plays out like a surreal 80s music video that only played on an obscure public access channel at 2am, and the soundtrack is pretty killer. I’ve never seen a film like this at Sundance, and probably can’t imagine there will ever be another one like it again.
Sundance Festival is the biggest independent cinema festival in the world. It has been held annually since 1978. This year’s edition took place between 21st January and 31st January in Park City, Utah.
Sources: Slash Film, The Guardian, The Verge, written by FL, translated by OK, edited by AZ, 1 Feb 2016