Polish films during Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013



1. Manhunt (Oblawa)

  • European Perspectives - 15 Feb 2013, 20:45 at Cineworld
  • Director: Marcin Krzyształowicz
  • Year: 2011
  • Country of Origin: Poland
  • Duration: 95 minutes

Manhunt finds desperate times calling for desperate measures deep in the
forests of Axis-occupied Poland. Anchored by the unforced macho gravitas
of Marcin Dorociński’s hero, a merciless executioner for the Resistance,
this sometimes visually and viscerally striking third feature for writer/
helmer Marcin Krzysztalowicz is said to be inspired by a real-life figure.

‘Wydra’ (Dorociński) is introduced marching a Nazi-collaborating fellow
Pole to his fate, and delivering a single bullet to the head. It’s a job to
which he’s by now coldly accustomed, hesitating just long enough for
propriety’s sake when it turns out his next mission is to serve the same
justice to old schoolfriend Henryk (Maciej Stuhr). But before he can
follow through, Henryk attempts a panicked escape that results in death
nonetheless – albeit an accidental one.

Returning from this mishap, Wydra discovers that, while absent, his entire
special-ops unit has been slaughtered. It’s now his obsession to uncover
the informer who revealed their secret camp to the enemy, letting no
personal ties stand in the way, even if they involve Henryk’s wife (Sonia


2. In A Bedroom (W Sypialni)

  • Sut., 16.02, Cineworld / 14:00
  • Director: Tomasz Wasilewski
  • Year: 2012
  • Country of Origin: Poland
  • Duration: 74 minutes

Male movie directors have long had a slightly dubious fascination with
female prostitutes, but thankfully this contemporary Polish drama does
not pander to tired screen stereotypes about sex workers. The feature-
length debut of 32-year-old writer/director Tomasz Wasilewski is an
artfully shot character study that reveals its psychological depths with
guarded caution.

Statuesque, intense, 40-year-old beauty Edyta (Katarzyna Herman) has a
neat scam going. Posing as a call girl on the internet, she meets up with
wealthy men in their homes, knocks them out with sleeping pills, then

steals cash or sometimes just a free bed for the night.

Edyta’s glacially aloof surface poise begins to crack when an encounter
with artist Patryk (Tomek Tyndyk) ends badly. After an initial period of
distrust, these two misfits form an uneasy bond that blossoms into a
budding romance.

Despite his relative youth and inexperience, Wasilewski shows an
impressive flair for tightly controlled emotional tone and striking
geometric compositions. Eventually the characters and their motives are
shaded in, and the film’s visual grammar becomes more conventional, but
it remains an eye-pleasing experience throughout.


3. Blind Chance (Przypadek)

  • Director: click to edit value
  • Year: Krzysztof Kieslowski
  • Country of Origin: Poland
  • Duration: 114 minutes
  • 16 Feb 2013, 13:15
  • at Light House Cinema

Strikingly modernist and compulsively watchable, European film master
Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 1982 Blind Chance has profoundly influenced
cinematic storytelling for nearly two decades. Kieslowski (The Dekalog,
Three Colours) blends his trademark passion for character and poetic
imagery with a boldly novelistic narrative conceit. Blind Chance
transcendently illuminates the intersection of fate, coincidence and

Facing an unclear future, Witek, an earnest young Polish medical student,
chooses to put his education on hold. With his head full of the promising
and ominous portents of his new adult life, Witek hurries to catch the
last train to Warsaw. But as he races down the platform, Blind Chance
blossoms into three successive scenarios in which Witek’s catching or
missing his train spawns three completely different futures. Whether
as an idealistic Communist Party member, an ambivalent dissident or a
devoted healer and husband, the young Pole’s destiny is shaped by the
unhappy youth threatening to hobble him, the troubled present poised to
engulf him and, in Kieslowski's words, ‘the powers that meddle with our

Through three complex lives, actor Boguslaw Linda portrays Witek with
an effortless magnetism remarkable even for a Kieslowski film. Actor
and director’s commitment and vision succeed in creating three entirely
different portraits each as compellingly real.


4. 80 Million (80 Milionów)

  • European Perspectives - 20 Feb 2013, 20:45 at Cineworld
  • Director: Waldemar Krzystek
  • Year: 2012
  • Country of Origin: Poland
  • Duration: 105 minutes

58-year-old director Waldemar Krzystek grew up under Communism, but
80 Million is less a political drama than a lively hybrid of action movie,
heist thriller and dark comedy. Shot in a fairly conventional but fast-paced
style, it features double agents, treacherous lovers, divided families,
car chases and wily Catholic priests working for the anti-government

The action takes place in the southern Polish city of Wroclaw over 10
days in December 1981, just before the imposition of martial law, a
Moscow-approved crackdown designed to crush the growing power of
Lech Walesa’s independent trade union Solidarity. Solidarity activists
Wladyslaw (Filip Bobek), Maks (Marcin Bosak) and Staszek (Wojciech
Solarz) learn about the impending state of emergency from a mysterious
Deep Throat character, who may just be a double agent. As martial law
will allow the government to freeze the union’s financial assets, they plan
a daring mission to withdraw 80 million Polish zlotys from Solidarity’s own
bank account.

Like Charlie Wilson’s War or Argo, 80 Million condenses a series of
complex historical events into an enjoyably upbeat thrill ride and a
universal celebration of victory over tyranny.


5. Aftermath (Pokłosie)

  • European Perspectives - 22 Feb 2013, 15:50 at Cineworld
  • Director: Władysław Pasikowski
  • Year: 2012
  • Country of Origin: Poland
  • Duration: 107 minutes

Władysław Pasikowski has finally succeeded in completing his long-
awaited feature inspired by the 1942 Jedwabne pogrom, erroneously
attributed to the Nazis. Pokłosie (Aftermath) deals with the attempt made
by two brothers Jozek (Maciej Stuhr) and Franciszek (Ireneusz Czop) to

break the conspiracy of silence among the residents of a fictional village
where a Jedwabne-style massacre had taken place. ‘We already have a
huge number of films on the horrors committed by the Soviets and the
Germans, and it’s time to say what terrible things we did ourselves,’ said

On another level, the tormented relationship and lack of mutual
understanding between Jozek and Franciszek in their search for the truth
can be read as metaphor for the Polish-Polish war. Enhanced by the warm
smoothness of Paweł Edelman’s cinematography, Pokłosie smacks of the
best Hollywood thrillers.