Małgorzata Szumowska's latest film Elles starring French actress Juliette Binoche opens the Panorama section of the 62nd International Film Festival in Berlin this February. Elles tells the story of Anna (played by Juliette Binoche), a well-to-do journalist preparing an article on prostitution among female students.
A scene from "Elles" / "Sponsoring", dir. Małgorzata Szumowska, pictured: Juliette Binoche
Małgorzata Szumowska's latest film Sponsoring/ Elles starring French actress Juliette Binoche opens the Panorama section of the 62nd International Film Festival in Berlin this February
Elles tells the story of Anna (played by Juliette Binoche), a well-to-do journalist preparing an article on prostitution among female students. While working on the material, she meets two girls selling their bodies, Charlotte (Anaïs Demoustier) and Alice (Joanna Kulig). The young women introduce the journalist into their world of paid love: a repulsive reality. However, much to Anna's surprise - she changes her perspective.
Binoche opted to take the role after reading the script co-written by Szumowska. In a recent interview, she explained that
I read the script, I met her and I felt that she has a very strong character, which I value in a director. She knows what she wants and she's able to take a risk, to propose something that isn't in the script, such as when I asked for us to visit my father in the hospital and film a scene with him.
The film is a Polish, French and German joint production. Apart from Juliette Binoche, Anaïs Demoustier and Joanna Kulig, the cast also includes Andrzej Chyra and Krystyna Janda. The director of photography is Michał Englert. Elles has been sold for distribution in over 30 countries, including in the UK, Spain, Brazil and South Korea.
Małgorzata Szumowska (born 1973), is the daughter of journalist and writer Dorota Terakowska and journalist and filmmaker Maciej Szumowski. She graduated from the National Film School in Łódź in 1998. For the previous two years, she studied art history at the Jagiellonian University. In 2001 she became a member of the European Film Academy.
As a director she has won numerous awards at international and national film festivals. Her short film Cisza/ Silence was included in a list of 14 best films in the history of the Łódź Film School, and a feature film screenplay Ono/ It was recognised in the competition Robert Redford's Sundance Institute as one of the top three European screenplays. 33 sceny z życia/ 33 scenes from life received a Special Jury Prize at the Locarno festival, and won Szumowska the best-director award at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. Szumowska has already completed four feature length films. These are Szczęśliwy człowiek/ Happy man (2000), Ono/ It (2004), 33 sceny z życia/ 33 scenes from life (2008) and Sponsoring/ Elles (2011). She is also the author of several documents and short films.
Source for video interview: Polish Film Institute (PISF)
Szumowska's latest film will be screened at the Berlinale on the 9th of February 2012, and hits Polish screens as Sponsoring on the 17th of February 2012. It has already been shown at the Toronto Film Festival in 2011 and at the Ramdam Festival in Belgium earlier this year.
The annual Berlinale Film Festival is held this year between the 9th and 19th of February.