A film set along the former Polish-Prussian border, it shows history and identity through the prism of the emotional tie developing between a former Army soldier Tadeusz and the widow of a German soldier named Rose
In the summer of 1945, Tadeusz (played by Marcin Dorociński), a former Army soldier who lost everything in the war, arrives in Mazury region in Poland. The man comes to a house owned by Róża (Agata Kulesza), the widow of a German soldier. Tadeusz learns the dramatic story of the woman's life – she was brutally raped by soldiers and forced into prostitution by the Soviets. Rose is treated with contempt by new settlers in Mazury, who look upon her as a German. An emotional tie flourishes between the soldier and Róża.
Róża (The Rose) is the third feature film directed by Wojciech Smarzowski – following Wesele (The Wedding) and Dom zły (The Dark House). The screenplay, written by Michał Szczerbic, is based on a little-known period of the glorious years of strengthening people's power within the new Polish borders following World War II.
Critic Barbara Hollender said in an interview with the site Stopklatka.pl during the 36th Polish Film Festival, June 2011 that
Wojciech Smarzowski is one of the most interesting Polish directors today. I remember that he once told me that he does not like to make frivolous films. And this is true. Actually, if you look at his work, every film was very important. [...] This is a great piece of cinema. This is a wonderful film about the history of the Mazury region just after the war that is sweeping over the people, and the region. All the while, it is a story about a very embarrassing and difficult love affair that is born between two completely lost people.
Director Wojciech Smarzowski spoke to Culture.pl's Konrad J. Zarębski about the nature of the film:
The film's basic plot is a story about love – tough and built on ruins. She is a Masurian, German, Polish perhaps. The term is relative and depends on political manipulation, which was particularly severe at that time. Nonetheless, above all she is a woman who suffered from the Russians and later from the Poles; who experienced tragedy and the worst of humiliations. She is a Pole whose life was ruined by Russians and Germans, by war and occupation. She is a human wreck. A ghost.
Róża (Rose), Poland 2011. Directed: Wojciech Smarzowski, screenplay: Michał Szczerbic, cinematography: Piotr Sobociński jr, set design: Marek Zawierucha, music: Mikołaj Trzaska, sound: Katarzyna Dzida-Hamela, Jacek Hamela, editing: Paweł Laskowski, production design: Maciej Skalski, Michał Szczerbic. Producer: Włodzimierz Niderhaus, production: Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych i Fabularnych (Warsaw). Starring: Marcin Dorociński, Agata Kulesza, Kinga Preis, Jacek Braciak, Malwina Buss, Marian Dziędziel, Edward Linde-Lubaszenko, Eryk Lubos, Lech Dyblik, Szymon Bobrowski and Andrzej Konopka.
- January 2013, Golden Tape Award for Best Film on Polish screens in 2012 awarded by the Polish branch of FIPRESCI of the Association of Polish Filmmakers.
- December 2012, best Film and audience Award at Europacinema festival in the Italian town of Viareggio, Tuscany.
- Silver Peacock award for Marcin Dorociński at the International Film Festival of India in Goa
- December 2012, Tahrir Square Prize in the Human Rights Competition of the Cairo International Film Festival
- November 2012, Złota Kaczka / Golden Duck Award for Best Actress of the 2011/2012 season for Agata Kulesza - given out by the readers of Film magazine
- 2012: Orły / Eagles Best film award at the Polish Film Academy: Best Film, Best Directing, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Script, Best Sound and the Audience Award
- 2012, Best Actor award for Marcin Dorociński at the Porto Film Festival.
- Mediensis Main Award at the Mediasz MECEF Film Festival in Romania.
- Best Actor prize at the Gdynia Film Festival in 2011 for Marcin Dorociński
- 2011: International award at the 2011 Warsaw Film Festival; Journalists award at the Polish Federation of Film Discussion Clubs.
- Special Jury Prize of the 23rd Polish Film Festival in America for Artistic Excellence and Importance
Edited and translated by Roberto Galea (July, 2012)