Docs To Go – New Polish documentaries
by Laurence Boyce
- The second edition of the Docs To Go, held at the 53rd Krakow Film Festival, held a number of intriguing new Polish documentaries to look out for over the coming months
Now in its second year, Docs to Go – held as part of the Krakow Film Festival as an initiative between the Polish Film Institute and Krakow Film Foundation - has already garnered itself a reputation as providing an important insight into the Polish documentaries that will make an the next year. Last year’s presentation event, in which producers introduce projects in the hope of attracting completion funding/ sales agents/festival interest, included Michal Marczak’s F**k for Forest [+see also:
film profile], which went on to be a huge international success, and Father and Son (Ojciec i syn) from Paweł & Marcel Łoziński (photo), a project that won awards when screened during this year’s festival.
This year’s Docs To Go provided a number of anticipated new projects, perhaps the most eagerly anticipated of which was Wjociech Staron’s Brothers, produced by Staron Film. After the huge success of The Argentinian Lesson, the next film from the Silver Bear winning cinematographer will be the story of two elderly brothers who have recently returned to their native Poland. Clips from the film indicate that it will contains Staron’s eye for the unexpected in the mundane as he eschews dialogue for slow takes and stunning visuals.
Also eagerly anticipated is Daria Lipko’s State of Mind (Opus Film), a story that follows Bosnian Muslim Senadin Ljubovic travelling to The Hague to try and see one of his old friends – Radovan Karadich. The film sets out to try and examine not only how changes in the human psyche can occur, as Ljubovic tries to discover how Karadich went from confidant to war criminal, but also how criminals in detention for a bond even if they’re sworn enemies. The film looks set to confront harsh truths – and some of the intensely uncomfortable real life footage of executions in the trailer shows that it will not shy away in its depiction of the Bosnian/Serbian conflict and the atrocities committed – but also looks to be a resolutely human and committed documentary.
The Domino Effect, directed by Piotr Rosłowski and Elwira Niewiera and produced by Otter Films, also looks at conflict from a human level as the small breakaway republic of Abkhazia, affected by a bloody civil war with Georgia, tries to elevate its international standing by holding the world’s first Domino World Championship. Amidst this, the sports minister tries to carry on his relationship with a Russian Opera singer who finds herself increasingly alienated in the closed society. Deep Love (Cor Leonis) also produced by Otter Films, is also set to be a piece about relationships as a deep sea diver is determined to do one last dive despite suffering the effects of a stroke. With some beautiful undersea photography, director Jan P. Matuszynski revealed the audience were in tears at a recent rough cut screening.
Other projects were the Returns of Agnieszka H. (directed by Krystyna Krauze and Jacek Petrycki, Centrala), which examines Agnieszka Holland’s time in the Czech Republic and her role as an active participant in political protest as a student of the Czech film school FAMU, Monk of the Sea [+see also:
film profile] (Rafal Skalski, Centrala), about a hedonistic Thai man who becomes a short-term monk, One Man Show (Jakub Piatek, Telemark), that follows a wannabe actor/musician/stand-up comedian, who also works three months a year as a potato picker in Norway and 15 Corners of the World [+see also:
film profile] (Zuzanna Solakiewicz, Endorfina Studio), which looks to be a fascinating examination of Eugeniusz Rudnik, one of the forefathers of Polish experimental music.