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Toronto International Film Festival 2021. Aga Woszczyńska’s “Silent Earth” in the Platform section [ROZMOWA]

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The Toronto International Film Festival starts 46 times. The only Polish film to be included in the festival’s program is Aga Woszczyńska’s full-length feature debut, “Silent Earth”. – For me, cinema begins where words end. It is the image that communicates meanings and emotions. The very title of the film “Silent Earth” refers to the land that remained silent about the tragedy – says Aga Woszczyńska in an interview with Tomasz-Marcin Wrona.

The Toronto International Film Festival, which is the most important fall film festival in the world alongside the Venice event, starts on Thursday for the 46th time. 200 titles will be shown within 10 days.

The Canadian festival is quite a specific event on the film calendar. The prizes are awarded by the audience and critics associated in FIPRESCI – the International Federation of Film Critics. In 2015, in honor of the film by Chinese creator Jia Zhangke, a Platform section was created, which includes the best titles in a given year from all over the world, without an American distributor. In the six-year history of Platform Prize, its jury was composed of Agnieszka Holland (2015) and Małgorzata Szumowska (2017). This year, Polish production will compete for the Platform Prize for the first time. It is Aga Woszczyńska’s full-length feature debut, “Silent Earth”.

Aga Woszczyńska’s “Silent Earth”Lava Films

Toronto IFF 2021. Aga Woszczyńska about her film debut

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– It’s a great feeling to make your feature film debut in Toronto. The more I am surprised that I made a film – in my opinion – about Europe and for a European audience. Suddenly it turns out to be premiered across the Atlantic. Maybe it’s good that it happened, because the distance with which viewers will look at this film will provoke different interpretations – comments Aga Woszczyńska, director and screenwriter of the film “Silent Earth” (Woszczyńska wants to write and talk about her “director” and “screenwriter”).

Woszczyńska delighted international critics with her “Fragments” diploma, which was included in the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight section of the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival. As she recalls, it was “a great honor” for her. – Nothing more beautiful at that moment in my life could have happened to me. I found myself in the section from which all my filmmasters come – he confesses. When asked about their names, she mentions Bruno Dumont, Michael Haneke, Yorgos Lantimos and Andrei Zvyagintsev.

– I already knew then that I wanted to make a full-length film about the same characters, because I felt that these 25 minutes were not enough to fully tell about them. I like to call them “emotional bankrupt.” From the very beginning, I kept to the idea that the plot should include the same actors of the main roles: Agnieszka Żulewska and Dobromir Dymecki. It took me five years, but I finally made it, he says. During these five years, Woszczyńska was responsible, inter alia, for collective scenes in “Wołyń” and in “Klera” by Wojciech Smarzowski.

Aga Woszczyńska’s “Silent Earth”Lava Films

Toronto IFF 2021. Aga Woszczyńska’s “Silent Earth” – what is the film about?

“Silent Earth” tells the story of a pair of well-to-do Poles – Anna and Adam, who decided to spend their holidays on a sunny Italian island. “On the spot, it turns out that the dream villa does not meet their expectations, and the island is struggling with a lack of water. The presence of a worker hired to repair the pool will start an unexpected chain of disturbing events. in the distributor’s description.

On the other hand, the website of the Toronto International Film Festival reads: “From the very first scenes, Woszczyńska builds the atmosphere of horror as we know from (Michelangelo) Antonioni or (Michael) Haneke’s films, giving her her own terrifying perspective of human weakness. Each scene is precise, each frame is like that. as sophisticated as the fitness and care regime of a marriage “. Such comparisons can raise high expectations of the audience. – I did not expect that the authors of this description would hit my heart so accurately. Because they are my main masters. I hope that I will have the opportunity to meet the audience after the screening and then I will find out if this announcement was covered by what they saw – she said.

Aga Woszczyńska’s “Silent Earth” Lava Films

Aga Woszczyńska: we close not only our eyes, but also our borders to the suffering of other people

What can we expect from the movie? – I can only say what I wanted to convey in this film. After the screening, I dream that the viewers will become more socially sensitive to the fate of strangers and others. I raise the issue of the migration of a person, which causes a completely irrational fear among my characters, replies the director.

– While writing this film in Lampedusa, a huge tragedy of migrants happened, which shocked me a lot. I found I needed to make a comment. And although it took me several years, I have the feeling that we are in the same place again. There is a tragedy in Afghanistan, so I would like to draw attention to the world’s passivity towards what is happening there. We close not only our eyes, but also our borders to the suffering of other people – notes Woszczyńska.

Aga Woszczyńskaprivate archive

She goes on to explain: “Of course, we have the main characters and the breakdown of their relationship in the foreground.” Between words, I created a story about the collapse of the most important values.

The 37-year-old creator of “Cichej świat” explains that with her films she would like to be part of the “slow cinema” trend. – It is a very slow, unhurried cinema that gives the viewer the opportunity to look at what is happening on the screen, and not just focus on what the director wants to say. For me, cinema begins where words end. It is the image that communicates meanings and emotions. The very title of the film “Silent Earth” refers to the land that remained silent about the tragedy. At the same time, it is a very quiet movie: there is no music in it and dialogues are kept to a minimum. We can consider sound editing as a music track. However, I focus on making the film tell the pictures taken by my friend and talented Bartek Świniarski. Sometimes even a very subtle picture is worth more than a thousand words, argues Aga Woszczyńska.

Dobromir Dymecki and Agnieszka Żulewska in Aga Woszczyńska’s “Silent Land”Lava Films

The 46th Toronto International Film Festival will run until September 18, 2021.

Author:Tomasz-Marcin Wrona

Main photo source: Lava Films

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