The 48th Polish Feature Film Festival will begin on Monday evening at the Musical Theater in Gdynia with Jan Holoubek’s film “Doppelgänger. Sobowtór”. 16 films will compete for the Golden Lions in the Main Competition, assessed by a jury chaired by director and screenwriter Filip Bajon.
This year, a record number of entries were submitted to the Main Competition – almost 60 films. The newly elected artistic director of the festival, Joanna Łapińska, admitted that selecting only 16 titles among them was not an easy task, and she felt very sorry for several titles that were eliminated at the last stage of selection.
The same selection rules apply in the competition – choice 12 competition titles are the responsibility of the artistic director, and 4 additional titles are added to the competition by the festival organizing committee.
Traditionally, next to the Main Competition, two others are held in parallel: the Short Film Competition, with 25 titles, and the Micro-budget Film Competition with four productions.
For the good start
Usually, for a good start to the event, the organizers choose a title that has the greatest chance of reaching the largest possible audience. This year it is “Doppelgänger. Sobowtór” by Jan Holoubek, well-known for the award-winning film “25 Years of Innocence. The Case of Tomek Komenda”, including the best debut for the director and the best leading role for Piotr Trojan.
Holoubek’s new film – Doppelgänger. “The Doppelganger” is a thriller set on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Produced by TVN Warner Bros. Discovery, the picture is inspired by a true story “James Bond the era of the Polish People’s Republic”. It takes viewers back to the turn of the 1970s and 1980s and has two heroes, one of whom stole the identity of the other. It is a story about how the world of high politics affects the lives of ordinary people. A story about the tornness of a man who, under the influence of love, turning back from the path from which there is no return and, finally, the story of finding the truth, searching for one’s own identity.
The main roles in the film are played by Jakub Gierszał and Tomasz Schuchardt. In addition, we will also see, among others: Andrzej Seweryn, Sławomir Łozińska and Katarzyna Herman. The film will be released in cinemas on September 29.
“Chłopi”, “Kos” and “Różyczka 2”, i.e. selected from the competition
This year, most of the titles in the Main Competition are premiere films. The artistic director emphasizes that she is particularly pleased with the diversity of genres and styles of the submitted films.
The most anticipated productions of the Main Competition are certainly “Chłopi” – just like “Loving Vincent”, a full-length painting animation for adults by DK and Hugh Welchman. DK Welchman (formerly Dorota Kobiela) reveals that the productions are very different from each other. – “Loving Vincent” is an intimate production, with a lot of static shots and dialogues. “Chłopi” is a real spectacle. The film has impressive dance and battle scenes. These are incredibly dynamic shots, the camera often follows the hero, a lot is happening in the frame – he adds.
The film had its world premiere a few days ago during the Toronto International Film Festival and was a hit there. The audience rewarded the creators with a standing ovation and the critics with great reviews. Larry Fried, an esteemed critic, wrote on Twitter: “The Peasants” is one of the greatest achievements of animation I have ever seen. A huge step forward from Loving Vincent in every respect and a thoroughly gripping, epic story.”
The film features a galaxy of Polish stars, including: Mirosław Baka, Ewa Kasprzyk, Sonia Bohosiewicz, Małgorzata Kożuchowska, Dorota Stalińska, Andrzej Konopka. Kamila Urzędowska plays the role of Jagna.
“Kos” directed by Paweł Maślona, the creator of “Panic Attack”, is also arousing considerable interest among viewers in Gdynia. While his previous film was thoroughly contemporary, “Kos” takes us over 200 years back, to the times of the Kościuszko Uprising.
The creators’ information reads: “In the spring of 1794, Poland is in an uproar. General Tadeusz ‘Kos’ Kościuszko returns to the country, planning to start an uprising against the Russians, mobilizing the Polish nobility and peasants. He is accompanied by his faithful friend and former slave, Domingo. Following Kościuszko “followed by the ruthless Russian cavalry captain, Dunin, who wants to capture the general at all costs before he starts a national rebellion.” Jacek Braciak played Kościuszko, and Bartosz Bielenia played the role of his antagonist.
Finally, a completely different, contemporary cinema, although deeply immersed in the past – “Little Rose 2” by Jan Kidawa-Błoński, which returns with its continuation 13 years after “Little Rose”, which was awarded the Golden Lion in Gdynia. This time the main character is the daughter of an outstanding writer who was under surveillance by the Security Service in the first film. The prototype of the hero was Paweł Jasienica. A woman’s thriving political career and family happiness are disrupted by a terrorist attack in which her husband is killed. Soon she suffers another blow – someone sends her photos and documents that undermine family ties and slander her mother. The woman decides to investigate herself and solve the mystery. We will again see Magdalena Boczarska in the main, double role, partnered by Janusz Gajos and Robert Więckiewicz.
Not only competition films
However, the competition films are not the only attraction of the Gdynia event. The oldest section of the festival, next to the Main Competition, is the popular Polonica section. It most often presents co-productions with the participation of Polish filmmakers. This year, among others, will be shown: Polish-Israeli-German film “Delegation” (directed by Asaf Saban), telling the story of teenagers from Israelwho must confront the tragedy of their ancestors.
Festival viewers will also have the opportunity to participate in a masterclass by Allan Starski, this year’s winner of the Platinum Lions, led by outstanding cinematographer Paweł Edelman. It will be a conversation about the films, inspirations and projects of Allan Starski, winner of an Oscar for the set design for Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”, illustrated with film fragments. An exhibition of Allan Starski’s film projects will also be a special event.
As usual, there will also be a series popular with the youngest viewers, “Gdynia for Children”. The program includes titles such as “Kajtek the Wizard” by Magdalena Łazarkiewicz with Maja Komorowska and Karolina Gruszka in the cast, an adaptation of Janusz Korczak’s prose. This is a pre-premiere screening of the film. Another film, an adaptation of the children’s prose by Roman Pisarski – “About the dog that rode the railway” by Magdalena Nieć, had its cinema premiere recently, in August.
The festival will last until September 23. On that day, we will meet all the winners of the Golden Lions and the winners of the other two competitions.
Main photo source: Jarosław Sosiński/TVN Warner Bros Discovery