Four Polish productions co-financed by the Polish Institute of Film Art are shown during the 35th edition of the Montreal International Film Festival...
A scene from "The Mole", dir. Rafael Lewandowski, pictured (from left) Marian Dziędziel and Borys Szyc
Four Polish productions - "The Mole" / "Kret" by Rafael Lewandowski, "Black Thursday"/ "Czarny czwartek. Janek Wiśniewski padł" by Antoni Krauze, "Fear of Falling" / "Lęk wysokości" by Bartosz Konopka and Andrzej Baranski’s "Hertiage" / "Księstwo" - co-financed by the Polish Institute of Film Art are shown during the 35th edition of the Montreal International Film Festival
"Black Thursday"/ "Czarny czwartek. Janek Wiśniewski padł" the latest film from Antoni Krauze is screened in the Main Competition at the IFF. It competes for the festival's grand prize against "The Mole" / "Kret" by Rafael Lewandowski.The Montreal screenings also mark both films' world premiere.
"The Mole", a Polish-French co-production directed by Rafael Lewandowski, is full of twists and turns a story of people struggling with the dark secrets, it looks back at a Poland of the past, a country that was still under Communist dictatorship. Pawel, a young man who grew up thinking that his father was a hero of the Solidarity revolt of the 1980s, is shocked to read a newspaper exposé accusing the man of having been a Communist informer, he is accused of having acted as a secret Communist informer called "The Mole". Twenty years after the transition to democracy, the past continues to haunt the present in Poland, and Pawel's father's story causes a stir. It makes headlines along with an ongoing trial about the crackdown of the miners' strikes of December 1981, where he was a leader. Pawel's wife happens to be the daughter of a miner killed during the Solidarity protests. He doesn't know whom to believe. A former Communist secret policeman may have some answers, but will anyone listen?
The cast includes Borys Szyc, Marian Dziedziel, Magdalena Czerwinska, Wojciech Pszoniak and Bartlomiej Topa. "The Mole" was released in Polish cinemas on the 5th of August 2011 but was already shown at this year's Polish Film Festival in Gdynia where Marian Dziędziel was honored for best supporting actor.
Rafael Lewandowski (b. 1969) is a documentary film director. He spent his childhood in France (his mother is French and father is Polish) where he graduated in directing from Fémis in Paris. Directing several short films, he then began working on documentaries. His career took off in Poland. In 1999 he directed "Hearings", on the Papon trial, and in 2005 he filmed "Children of Solidarnosc" about the 1980s generation of Poles. He worked as an interviewer for the Shoah Foundation (created by Steven Spielberg), interviewing approximately one hundred former deportees, hidden children and partisans from World War II. "The Mole" is his first fictional feature.
The second Polish film "Black Thursday"/ "Czarny czwartek. Janek Wiśniewski padł" by Antoni Krauze, also deals with protests against the old regime. Two weeks before Christmas, 1970, the Polish Communist government announces a hike in food prices. On Monday 14 December, Gdansk shipyard workers refuse to go to work and take to the streets, where protesters set fire to the Communist Party building. On Thursday 17 December, the staff of the Gdynia Shipyard are heading to work when military police and army troops open fire and 45 protesters are shot and killed. The film follows the plight of a family caught up in the violence. This protest and its brutal suppression occurred a decade before the Solidarity union emerged to lead the opposition, but they were events that were clearly preparative for what happened later.
Outstanding performances by Piotr Fronczewski and Wojciech Pszoniak, as well as a moving screen debut by Marta Honzatko. The music for the film is composed by Michał Lorenc, "Ballad of Janek Wisniewski" the theme song of "Black Thursday" vocals by Kazik Staszewski.
"Fear of Falling" / "Lęk wysokości", the feature debut from Bartosz Konopka, is screened in the First Films World Competition at the IFF Montreal. This festival section features a lineup of 26 films from 21 countries. The description of the First Films World Competition on the festival website states that the festival selection committee was particularly impressed by the maturity of these debut films. "The directors of these works have this in common: they seem more interested in human stories than in gadgets or special effects. Many have trained in film school and have clearly learned their lessons well; their technical skills are remarkable". The film previously won awards at the 36th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia (Award for Best Film by a First-time or Second-Time Director), and at the 38th Ińsko Film Summer (Best Polish Film). The screenplay written by Piotr Borkowski and Bartosz Konopka received an award in the Hartley-Merrill screenwriting competition in 2009. Itis the first full-length feature film produced by Munk Studio of the Polish Filmmakers Association. The film's artistic supervisor was Agnieszka Holland. The film's production was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.
Bartosz Konopka graduated in cinema from Jagiellonian University in Krakow and the University of Silesia and he has a journalism degree from the University of Warsaw. His shorts and documentaries have been widely shown at international festivals. His film "Rabbit à la Berlin"(2009) was nominated for an Oscar in the short subjects category. "Fear of Falling" marks his debut in fiction features.
Andrzej Baranski's film "Hertiage" / "Księstwo" is screened during the Focus on World Cinema section of the festival. The film was conducted on the basis of autobiographical prose by Zbigniew Masternak (b. 1978) and tells the story of a young boy coming from the countryside, dreaming of becoming a football player and trying their hand at law school in the big city. This is a story of confrontation of Zbyszko's beliefs and dreams with brutal reality. The film stars Rafal Zawierucha, Aldona Jankowska, Jan Wojtynski, Grzegorz Gromek, Edward Kusztal, Michal Aniol and Jacek Opolski.
The Montreal Festival aims to support the development of international cinematography by promoting the cultural variety and propping up debuts and innovative films.
This year's edition runs from the 18th to 28th of August 2011. Over 400 films from 70 countries are to be shown.
Source: press release, PISF