Country in Focus: Poland
Festival in Media

Tbilisi international Film festival’s is proud to announce that this year’s Country in Focus will be dedicated to Polish Cinema, one of Eastern Europe’s most thriving film industries. Working in association with the Polish Film Institute (PISF) and Adam Mickiewicz Institute, TIFF will present a program of Polish features of the last 5 years, including both documentary and fiction, as well as Polish Shorts Programme handpicked with the help of Krakow Film Foundation (KFF). Last but not least, festival will hold a special screening of the film “Smolensk”, directed by Antoni Krauze, film inspired by true events of 2010 Polish Air Force crash in Smolensk, supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tbilisi. The Polish focus will also include the discourse about Polish Film Industry after 1989, with special guest from across the production landscape in Poland - Mr. Jacub Majmurek: From Ashes to Diamonds.

Polish specificity is the unusually strong position of the ambitious, artistic cinema that seeks new forms of expression in the cinematic language, which treats cinema as a tool for social communication. It is noteworthy that 2016 has been one of the most robust times for Polish cinema, something confirmed by the international acclamation it has received. Cutting-edge films that will be shown in our section:

Last Family - a directorial debut from Jan Matuszyński chronicling the real-life story of a seemingly doomed clan of pre-1989 times, with its chillingly accurate set design, painstakingly true to life behind the Iron Curtain in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Film depicts every detail, providing a setting that makes the chronicle of the Beksinski family feel almost hyper-realistic and the film’s unique visual ethos is no accident with every scene shot in a single take.

Another Polish film that has set itself apart, style-wise, selected for the section, is Tomasz Wasilewski’s United States of Love, creating a world for four women characters that experience the first days of political freedom in 1990 and are determined to transmute it into their personal freedom.

Let’s not forget about the lighter side of Polish cinema, such as comedies of manners that are also judged according to the criteria adopted from artistic cinema, for instance: Kebab and Horoscope a black comedy by Grzegorz Jaroszuk, who will be attending this year’s festival along with his short film Frozen Stories with the similar undertone to it.

“Forest, 4am” hardly seems like a last-ditch save, with breathtaking sylvan imagery and a setting that seems transformative for its broken-hearted characters. The visual style of the film is a consequence of being in the center of a very special sphere, which consists of characters, scents, trees, animals and many other things. A truly heartbreaking drama by Jan Jacub Kolski.

And as for Michal Marczak, another guest of the section, who made his breakthrough with the acclaimed Fuck for Forest (Best Documentary at the 2012 Warsaw Film Festival), will be turning up to the 17th edition of the festival with his latest film All These Sleepless Nights portraying the romantic yearning, drunken debating, and self-indulgent philosophizing of youth. A sweet documentary/fiction hybrid that won Directing awards at Sundance.

New world (Elżbieta Benkowska, Michał Wawrzecki, Łukasz Ostalski) that is not really a romantic comedy because here love is more profound. It's not a drama because no one is complaining at their fate. It's a story of three young immigrants who try to find their place in a new world... in Poland. An Afghan with a post-war trauma, a Ukrainian lost and confused by her own body and a Belarusian who's running away from painful love. What do we have in common with them? Everything. What divides us from them? Everything.

The political dimensions in Polish cinema are visible in the latest film of Dariusz Gajewski: Strange Heaven. The story of Polish emigrants fighting the pitiless machine of Swedish that turns into a black and white fairy tale about good and evil. Invited guest is the producer of the film Mr. Kuba Kosma that will hold a Q&A after the screening, talking more about the films intentions.

As mentioned before, Polish focus will give the spectator the best scoop possible and that means showing an unconventional serial killer movie, that unsettles not through violence, but by asking audiences to put themselves in the sociopath's shoes. Red Spider directed by a puppet master Marcin Koszałka, demonstrates an elegant and confident touch, operating as much as possible in the “pure cinema” tradition, where strong visual scenes are allowed to unfold without the crutch of explanatory dialogue or helpful audio clues, beyond a fewsnatches of radio broadcasts and a low, dread-building score.

Country in focus will be screening a series of six short films depicting, exploring and deciphering Poland and its culture through the wide-open eyes of its filmmaking talent.

My advice would be not to miss any of those highly acclaimed Polish films and to enjoy the festival to its fullest potential.

The strength of Polish cinema was always rooted in the fact that each epoch brought new talents. Because making a film debut was a relatively easy thing in Poland, our country has always had new directors, thanks to whom Polish cinema has always been able to reform itself. To my intuition, it is the only way the art of cinematography can truly progress…

Andrzej Wajda

 Author: Anna Chkonia Programme Coordinator

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