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"Bringing forth our demons into the light to break free from them"

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Borys Lankosz • Director

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- Polish director Borys Lankosz deciphers A Grain of Truth and the secret power of genre cinema in changing mentalities

Borys Lankosz  • Director

Coming to fame with The Reverse [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Agata Buzek - actress
interview: Borys Lankosz
film profile
]
(Polish nominee to the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film), Borys Lankosz has a reputation in Poland as a director who is filling the genre cinema gap. He has just released A Grain of Truth [+see also:
trailer
interview: Borys Lankosz
film profile
]
, based on a best-seller by Zygmunt Miloszewski, and is currently kicking off filming for the adaptation of another literary success: Dark, Almost Night by Joanna Bator.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: Polish cinema lacks genre films. Did you consider this trend in national production when you launched yourself into A Grain of Truth?
Borys Lankosz: Polish directors are still immersed in a romantic paradigm. Film school students have a strong tendency to romanticize and little is said about know-how. As a Polish Film Institute expert, I've noted that knowing how to create an exciting story with a good structure is rare.

Did what you found in Zygmunt Miloszewski's novel inspire your movie?
While reading it, I immediately saw that it had everything I needed and that I would be able to make the movie I wanted and what I've always loved as a viewer: all of my greatest influences are genre film directors.

In The Reverse, you broke the genre mould by playing with the style. A Grain of Truth seems to be more respectful of thriller codes.
That's true, but like in The Reverse, the tension created by narration is sometimes unloaded with laughter. I really enjoy mixing the ghastly and amusing aspects. This mix, very present in The Reverse, is even more evident in A Grain of Truth, through the dialogue. I love when viewers burst out laughing to relieve themselves after the tension: it's the best time to strike even harder.

Thriller and comedy often discreetly deliver a form of social critique. That's what happens in your movie. What were your intentions?
For me, the most important thing is to have a good story that's well told. But if that was all I had, I'd never decide to make a movie out of it. There's a new and increasing phenomenon in literature whereby detective novels are beginning to act as social novels. For me, the social context is crucial and that's the key reason why I decided to film this movie. It sickens me that according to statistics, one in five Poles still believe in the superstition that states that the Jews kill children for their blood which is supposedly necessary to make Matzah (Editor's note: unleavened bread eaten at the Feast of the Passover). They don't really believe it but they do see a grain of truth in it. Focusing on a popular genre, thriller was the perfect way for me to show the masses that it’s absolute foolishness, an extremely cruel untruth. So this movie, first and foremost, expresses my vision, and that of Miloszewski, as regards Polish anti-Semitism.

This theme of anti-Semitism is very present in Polish cinema at the moment, particularly in Aftermath [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Ida [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
interview: Pawel Pawlikowski
film profile
]
.
I think A Grain of Truth does it differently. I believe that thriller can allow one to work at the subconscious level. The viewer lets himself be brought along by the story, but the most important part goes directly into his subconscious where it can act on a deeper level. In all my movies, like in my next one that will be an adaptation of a novel by Joanna Bator, I deal with hidden issues that appear in the collective unconscious. In this sense, the movie can be therapeutic: bringing forth our demons into the light to break free from them.

A Grain of Truth is the first real film as director of photography for Lukasz Bielan, the Polish cameraman who is renowned in Hollywood.
In my opinion, he's one of the best in the world. Before working freelance, he was the favourite assistant to the God of photography directors: Sven Nykvist. And I believe more in learning based on the teacher – student relationship than in film schools.

The movie is also the first production for the new Studio Rewers that you founded with Anna Drozd. What's its editorial line?
We don't just want to produce my movies and we'd like to follow the example of the famous Studio Filmowe Kadr by focusing on first and second features by young directors. We're currently filming Bartek Konopka's new movie, a biography of Tadeusz Kantor.

(Translated from French)

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