Posts Tagged ‘Kinoteka 2013’

One Way Ticket to the- Moon Bilet na ksiezyc (2013) Kinoteka 2014

Director: Jacek Bromski

Filip Plawiak, Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Bozena Adamek, Alicja Bach, Andrzej Beja-Zaborski, Kaja Walden

120 min Comedy Drama  Polish with subtitles

Jacek Bromski’s gloriously nostalgic rites of passage road movie takes place a Communist Poland in 1969.  Country boy Adam Sikora (Filip Plawiak)is drafted into the Navy to serve at Swinoujscie naval base on the Baltic. With his older and more worldly brother Antoni (Mateusz Kaosciukiewicz) he sets off on the bucolic road to coast from Warsaw in a journey that will change their lives forever.

Despite their easy blokeish bonhomie, tousled blond Adam and darkly charismatic Antoni disagree on everything, especially sex. Travelling mainly by train, they meet up with old friends and new. Antoni certainly knows how to get the girls and is determined to show his kid brother the ways of the world. The tone is light-hearted and fraught with of period details including the Apollo 11 moon landings  accompanied by an eclectic sixties soundtrack and even a live rendition of House of the Rising Sun.

When Adam finally breaks his duck, he unintentionally also falls foul of a police officer in an altercation that develops into an ugly situation as he attempts to extricate himself. Almost immediately Bromski ‘s light-hearted comedy shifs in tone into a melodramatic hostage caper which fetches up in edgy Berlin, in a bizarre true-story style ending.

Despite its ill-judged final stages where it ultimately loses its way by the end, it’s the two leads energy and joie de vivre that drive the early narrative forward, particularly Kaosciukiewicz who went on to be a big star on the Polish film scene. MT

Showing 18 May at Kinoteka.org

It Looks Pretty From A Distance (2011) **** (Z daleka widok jest piekny) Kinoteka 2013

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Director: Anka Sasnal, Wilhelm Sasnal

Script: Anka Sasnal, Wilhelm Sasnal

Producer:  Anton Kern Gallery

Cast: Marcin Czarnik, Piotr Nowak, Elzbieta Okupska, Jerzy lapinski, Hanna Chojnacka, Michel Pietrzak

Poland                      77mins       Drama

A very different flavour to this years Kinoteka comes from filmmaking team Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal, who give us a hard slice of life in present-day rural Poland, redolent in style and depiction to our own Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank).

Nominated for awards at the Jeonju and Rotterdam Film Festivals, this minimal approach to storytelling packs a very powerful punch. Life, death and the human instinct for survival is what is on display here, among the grimed reality of an everyday life bumping along the surface of complete destitution, where it seems even words are too expensive to be bandied about willy-nilly.

There is simply no room for frills and niceties and everything is up for grabs, be it in nature or a car.  Into this frame comes the love between a young woman and her beau, a scrap metal collector, living with a mother lost to dementia.

There’s a compression, a palpable claustrophobia despite the bucolic setting, brought on by ever-present poverty and that other accompaniment to country living; that everybody knows your business. There’s no plastic castle for hiding in this goldfish bowl.

It’s a super bleak take on life, shot with an economy, an absence of fat that complements the harsh beauty of their living landscape. There’s precious little to aspire to, so anything that alleviates the grind or the boredom is picked clean by hungry fingers. It’s a constant battle just existing in an arena where no quarter is given. Ever.

First film then from the Sasnal Writer, Producer and Director team and what a strong debut it is; an excruciating portrayal of the constant anger and frustration simmering just below the surface when lives are given no hope of relief. Hopefully it proves strong enough for them to get their next one off the ground.

Like taking a cold shower with a scouring pad. AT

IT LOOKS PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE IS PART OF THE ICA’S REGULAR ARTISTS’ FILM CLUB SERIES AND WILL SCREEN AT THE ICA, LONDON ON 16TH MARCH 2013 AS PART OF THE KINOTEKA SERIES.  KINOTEKA POLISH FILM FESTIVAL 2013: LONDON, BELFAST, LIVERPOOL AND EDINBURGH 7-17 MARCH 2013

 

Women’s Day (2012)*** Dzien Kobiet Kinoteka Polish Film Festival 2013

Director: Maria Sadowska

Writers: Katarzyna Terechowicz, Maria Sadowska

Cast: Katarzyna Kwiatowska, Eryk Lubos, Grazyna Barszczewska, Klara Bielawka, Ewa Konstancja Bulhak, Julia Czuraj, Zina Kerste, Dorota Kolak, Agata Kulesza

90mins   Polish Drama   with subtitles

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Maria Sadowska’s has many strings to her bow: jazz-pop vocalist, writer, composer and director.  Her debut feature is a feisty, feminist affair and although much darker in tone, very much along the lines of Erin Brokovich (2000) or even Gloria (2012), the breakout Chilean feature that won Best Actress for Paulina Garcia at Berlinale this year. The setting is also more unglamorous: An eighties supermarket on the outskirts of Warsaw where the prolific Polish actor, Katarzyna Kwiatkowska, as Halina, plays a modest working woman who turns out to have hidden depths and remarkable staying power.  Eryk Lubos is her co-star, another well-known Pole who leads in hard-hitting dramas: To Kill A Beaver and Rose; also screening during the impressive Kinoteka Film Festival this year.

The drama kicks off when Halina’s boss (Eryk Lubos) suggests promotion at the supermarket. Initially, it seems a no-brainer: greater responsibility but more money, social status and a new computer for her daughter Misia (Julia Czuraj) who’s dead against the whole idea.  Promotion is beyond her wildest dreams and Halina is determined to give it a go and heads off for a ghastly team-buidling course where all the management is male and the watchword is “Productivity”!: echoing TwentyTwelve, the recent BBC4 satire.  Halina realises promotion is a poisoned challis of toxic personalities and nightmares she hadn’t bargained for. But when her boss demands staff cut-backs (“Sack the old one or the pregnant one!”) she falls foul of the sisterhood and bitterly regrets her decision. And it seems like Misia is going off the rails. But Halina won’t give up.

Katarzyna Kwiatowska gives a strong and heartfelt performance as the modest but genuinely well-meaning Halina, battling against a turbulent tide of female rivalry and resentment, mysogyny and making ends meet as a single mother with little support in a country where employment laws of day favoured the company and there is little hope for change.

Women’s Day is a gripping drama with a strong support cast reflecting a country that’s tough, competitive and male-dominated.  It shows how women can be the bitterest enemies and the strongest friends and emphasises the continuing importance of the Catholic Church in family life and the dominance of men in society.

Halina’s mother is the voice of the older generation reminding her: “never turn a man down” and yet the male characters here appear manipulative, controlling but ultimately weak and unsupportive. Maria Sadowska calls the feature a “feminist western”. Women’s Day is certainly a parable of a strong, mature and feminine woman who considers the easy route but then takes the high road to High Noon. MT

WOMEN’S DAY IS PART OF KINOTEKA 2013.  A SPECIAL FREE SCREENING WITH A PARTY FOR ALL ‘FEMALE SPIRITS’ TAKES PLACE AT THE RIVERSIDE STUDIOS ON 8TH MARCH WITH MUSIC COURTESY OF CULT HERO, DJ WIKA

 

Manhunt (2012) **** Oblawa Kinoteka 2013

Director: Marcin Kryzysztalowicz
Script: Marcin Kryzysztalowicz
Producer: Krysztof Gredzinski, Malgorzata Jurczak
Cast: Marcin Dorocinski, Maciej Stuhr, Sonia Bohosiewicz, Weronika Rosati, Andrzej Zielinski, Bartosz Zukowski, Alan Andersz, Andrzej Mastalerz

Poland  2012 96mins War Drama

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Based on a true story and shot in Slomniki, Malopolskie, this WWII Polish resistance movement flick is the epitome of grit. Rightly nominated for the Grand Prix at Montreal FF last year, Kryzysztalowicz has delivered the goods here and on a miniscule budget.

Grim in the extreme and minutely observed, utilising a finely constructed fractured narrative, Kryzysztalowicz tells his desperate story of a partisan group living close to starvation in the Polish woods. A completely convincing Dorocinski plays ‘Wydra’, a resistance soldier given the odious task of rounding up Gestapo informers from the nearby town and executing them unceremoniously; the lives of the resistance fighters depend on it.

Kryzysztalowicz doesn’t blink, doesn’t blanch, either from the immediacy of war nor the unrelenting bleakness, the on-going struggle, the existence that the partisans had to wring from the land during their exile from their homes and families. One can almost smell the soil and taste the pitiful stew.

As one has come to expect now from Polish fare, the cinematography is again exemplary, here from the very experienced and award-winning Arkadiusz Tomiak.

It’s nine years since Kryzysztalowicz last made a film and let it be hoped he doesn’t have to wait as long before delivering another. His script, like the story it is based on is wiry and honed, stripped bare of any fat, any spare. The acting is superb throughout and the story smartly told. The very evident humanity lifting it above the standard war pic.

It’s the tale, if indeed any were needed, about the extremity of war and what it makes people capable of, once there is simply nothing left for them in life, once brutality has left its bootprint indelibly on their souls and, by extension, forces you to ask of yourself- what would you do? How would you react, given the same stimuli?

Go with a strong nerve, but go. These stories need to be told and, moreover, they need never to be forgotten. AT

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