Alternative and independent cinema on show at Tofifest
by Dorota Hartwich
- The gathering organised in Toruń asserts its originality with the “From Poland” section and such titles as Beavers and Polish Shit
Having got under way last Saturday, the 12th edition of the Tofifest (which is unspooling in Toruń until 26 October) particularly stands out because of its “rebellious” editorial policy; this can be observed in the competitive “From Poland” section, which is offering Polish works that position themselves very much outside of the national mainstream: debut films, independent productions, and titles that go beyond genre boundaries and encroach on the territory of other artistic domains (theatre, music videos, video art and so on).
Having already been introduced to Polish audiences and gained significant popularity among viewers (his feature debut, Consumers, earned him a Special Mention for an independent film at Gdynia in 2009), Hubert Gotkowski has now presented his new opus, Beavers, in Toruń. Produced by DDN Productions, the film has already bagged itself several awards at Polish festivals dedicated to independent cinema and/or young directors (including at Lublin, Rzeszów and Jelenia Góra).
The plot of Beavers revolves around the temptation to revisit old ideals. The film’s title is a reference to the name of a rock group formed by a bunch of friends (Wojciech Solarz, Robert Jarociński and Sebastian Stankiewicz) before life scattered them in different directions. The story sees Marcin come back from Ireland, having failed in his attempt to improve his standard of living. His pal Klocek leads a life as a psychoactive drug dealer, while the third rather senior member of the group manages... some public conveniences. On the verge of suicide, Marcin abandons an attempt to kill himself when he sees a little “for sale” advert for his old guitar. He then tries to get his instrument back and restart the band.
Meanwhile, director and television journalist Grzegorz Jankowski was selected at Tofifest with his feature debut, Polish Shit. As in Beavers, at the heart of the story is a group of ambitious musicians trying to record their first album and promote it with a tour. Produced by Film It!, this quasi-documentary, which features a star of the Polish indie music scene (Tymon Tymański, who also wrote the screenplay of the film) and a famous cabaret actor (Grzegorz Halama) among its leads, offers audiences an extremely satirical portrayal of the world of showbiz.
Beavers and Polish Shit are distributed by Spectator.