Jakub Gierszał and Magdalena Berus in Jacek Borcuch's "Lasting", photo: Kraków Festival Office
For his images of the decomposition of a seemingly well-organised world in Jacek Borcuch’s Lasting, Michał Englert receives the Cinematography Award: World Cinema Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival 2013.
Jacek Borcuch, the director of Lasting, picked up the award for Englert, saying "Thank you, Sundance, thank you to everyone. I’m also from Poland and my heart is also [beating] very hard."
Michał Englert (born 1975) is a cinematography graduate from the Łódz Film School. He has made documentaries, fiction features and films made for TV. He works regularly with director Małgorzata Szumowska, with whom he has filmed 12 movies, from her feature debut Szczęśliwy człowiek / Happy Man (2000) and 33 sceny z życia / 33 Scenes From Life (2008), for which Englert received the Golden Lion Award at the Gdynia Film Festival for Best Cinematography, to Elles (2011) and Szumowska's new film, In the Name of …, for which Englert shot the images and co-wrote the script.
Englert is also a regular on Jacek Borcuch's projects, having worked with the director on Melancholia, Wszystko, co kocham / All that I Love and Nieulotne / Lasting. Other projects include Jacek Bromski’s Wyprawa na księżyc / Trip to the Moon, which comes out in 2013, and Englert is currently working on Ari Folman’s adaptation of the Stanisław Lem novel Kongres futurologiczny / The Futurological Congress.
Lasting is "a contemporary attempt to look closer at the human condition in micro scale,", and a love story that shows "Through the eyes of young people, [...] the disintegration of a seemingly well-organised world", as director Borcuch told the Polish Press Agency. Twenty-year-old Michał (Jakub Gierszał) and Karina (Magdalena Berus), two Polish students, meet in Valencia, Spain, while on a summer job, and fall head over heels for each other. Their holiday romance is broken up by a dramatic event that changes their lives irrevocably: Provoked into a fight, Michał kills a man. Their idle life turn into a nightmare, and their feelings are put to the test.
Michał Oleszczyk comments on the Chicago Sun Times blog that Borcuch is one of few "Polish directors to rely on visuals rather than on dialogue. […] The [opening] images are disjointed and the mode poetic, thus announcing the director's method of choice." Oleszczyk finds other merits, though he does not consider the film a success. "The long second half of the movie takes place in Kraków. [...] it was refreshing to see Borcuch trying to come up with new ways of portraying the place. It's introduced by means of a shock cut, transporting us from the sun-drenched Spanish plains to what is possibly Kraków's single most hideous location: the still-unfinished stump of an abandoned 1970s skyscraper, too expensive to dismantle and nicknamed 'Skeletor' by the locals."
The annual Sundance Film Festival was founded in 1978 and is now among the important events promoting international independent cinema. Along with Michał Englert's award, Grzegorz Zariczny’s documentary The Whistle won the 2013 Short Film Grand Jury Prize.
Sources: culture.pl, Bartosz Staszczyszyn's article for culture.pl, Sundance, Chicago Sun Times
Editor: Marta Jazowska