The Venice award-winning “Io” by Jerzy Skolimowski, “Silent Twins” by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, “Infinite Storm” by Małgorzata Szumowska and the long-awaited “Broad Peak” by Leszek Dawid will be among the 16 productions in the Main Competition of the 47th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. The festival will be held on September 12-17.
In accordance with the regulations of the 47th PFF, the selection of films for the Main Competition was made by: the Artistic Director of the Festival, Tomasz Kolankiewicz, and the Selection Team appointed by him, which includes film expert Paulina Kwiatkowska, film critic Adriana Prodeus and film director Janusz Zaorski, as well as the Organizing Committee of the Festival.
In addition to the 16 titles competing for the Golden Lions in the Main Competition, two other competitions will traditionally take place for years: short films and the so-called microbudgets.
As many as 30 films produced by film schools and independent producers qualified for the Short Film Competition, as well as under the “30 minutes” program of the Munk Studio – Polish Filmmakers Association
In turn, the Microbudget Film Competition includes seven films made in accordance with the rules of the PISF Operational Program – Film Production.
Masters, debutants and “young on the wave”
This year’s Main Competition of the Polish Film Festival, in the opinion of its artistic director Tomasz Kolankiewicz, presents such a high level that the festival has not been able to boast for a long time. Importantly, in contrast to previous years, the 16 selected titles are works representing filmmakers of all generations – from the youngest (the competition includes three full-length debuts and two second films by directors), through the most numerous productions of already recognized middle-generation artists, to the works of masters .
The latter certainly include Jerzy Skolimowski, one of the most famous Polish directors in the world, whose film “IO” taking part in the Main Competition received the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition to Skolimowski (born in 1938), the competition will be fought by the champion of a generation younger by a generation, Wojciech Smarzowski, with the controversial “Wesel”, known to us since autumn 2021.
Smarzowski did not manage to make post-production for last year’s festival, so the film was only entered into the competition now. The film, referring to Smarzowski’s first film of the same title, is a moderately successful attempt to settle accounts with Polish anti-Semitism over the last century. The film divided both viewers and critics, and did not achieve the box office success of Smarzowski’s other titles.
We’ll find out soon how the industry jury will accept it.
Women directors are on top!
The list of titles that Gdynia is waiting for the most this year is impressive. Apart from Skolimowski’s painting, inspired by the famous French film by Robert Bresson, “For Luck, Baltazar”, there are mainly productions of already recognized (also in the world), but still young filmmakers. I am glad that there are many female directors in this group.
The greatest emotions are evoked by the enthusiastically received “Silent Twins” – the first English-language film by the creator of “Fuga” by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, presented in the section “Un Certain Regard” in Cannes. This is the story of black twins, June and Jennifer Gibbons, who refused to communicate with the world and communicated only with each other. They had an incredibly strong bond, “as if it were one person in two bodies.” They also realized themselves as authors of books and poems. The attempt to separate the girls led to mental disorders in both of them. As teenagers, they committed numerous acts of vandalism, which resulted in them being placed for 10 years in a notorious psychiatric hospital. Agnieszka Smoczyńska told this story from the sisters’ perspective, not treating them as outsiders, but fitting in with their way of thinking and acting.
“Infinite Storm”, a film by Małgorzata Szumowska with Naomi Watts in the main role, already in cinemas, is also a story based on facts. The action takes place in the White Mountains in the Northeast of the United States. The main character wanders alone in the mountains, and when a snowstorm breaks out and wants to run away, she finds footprints in the snow. He begins his search for a reckless tourist, and the survival thriller he will experience will turn out to be a catharsis for both of them.
Another film that is already loud is the chamber psychological cinema directed by Anna Jadowska, “The Woman on the Roof”, with the outstanding role of Dorota Pomykała, already awarded at the festival in New York’s Tribeca. The director focuses on the life of the resigned sixty-year-old Mira, who has already lost all hope of improving her fate. One morning in July, the woman puts her kitchen knife in her bag and goes to the bank, telling the clerk that it is a robbery. Her desperate gesture fails, but forces Mira to rethink her life.
And finally, long-awaited, interrupted by a pandemic, and then struggling with financial problems of “Broad Peak” by Leszek Dawid, with Ireneusz Czop in the lead role of Maciej Berbeka, a mountaineer. The film, shot in the Mont Blanc area, in horribly difficult conditions, shows the backstage of the tragic winter expedition to the title mountain in 2013. Maja Ostaszewska played Berbeka’s wife, and Dawid Ogrodnik played Adam Beilecki.
The new film is also worth mentioning Tomasz Wasilewski “Stupid”, with one of his favorite actresses Dorota Kolak and Łukasz Simlat in the lead roles. And this time psychological cinema forcing you to look inside yourself. On the other extreme, we have an artist who presents an extremely different cinema. Xawery Żuławski offers us an expedition with zombies that will appear at the party on the Baltic Sea in the group of high school graduates.
The festival will be held on September 12-17.
List of Main Competition films
“Apokawixa”, director: Xawery Żuławski, screenplay: Maciej Kazula, Xawery Żuławski and Krzysztof Bernaś, producer: Anna Waśniewska-Gill
“Broad Peak”, directed by: Leszek Dawid
“Bread and Salt”, directed and written by Damian Kocur
“Filip”, directed by: Michał Kwieciński
“Głupcy”, directed and written by Tomasz Wasilewski
“Illusion”, directed by Marta Minorowicz
“Infinite Storm, directed by Małgorzata Szumowska
“IO” directed by Jerzy Skolimowski
“Woman on the Roof”, directed and written by Anna Jadowska
“Orlęta. Grodno’39”, directed and written by Krzysztof Łukaszewicz
“Orzeł. The Last Patrol” “, directed and written by Jacek Bławut
“The Silent Twins” “, directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska
“Strzępy”, directed and written by Beata Dzianowicz
“” Dad “, directed by Anna Maliszewska
“Śubuk”, directed by Jacek Lusiński
“Wesele”, directed and written by Wojciech Smarzowski
Main photo source: Cannes Film Festival