Mr. Jones tames the Golden Lions at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia
by Ola Salwa
- Agnieszka Holland’s film has won the top prize, while Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz scooped the Silver Lions, and Corpus Christi snagged Best Director and Best Screenplay
Agnieszka Holland’s Mr. Jones [+see also:
interview: Agnieszka Holland
film profile], which follows a mission undertaken by journalist Gareth Jones, who first reported on the Holodomor, a hunger genocide engineered by Stalin in Ukraine, has taken home the main award, the Golden Lions, from the 44th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. The Polish-British-Ukrainian co-production also won the gong for Best Production Design (courtesy of Grzegorz Piątkowski). The Silver Lions went to Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz [+see also:
film profile] by Maciej Pieprzyca (Life Feels Good [+see also:
film profile], I’m a Killer [+see also:
interview: Maciej Pieprzyca
interview: Renata Czarnkowska-Listos a…
film profile]). The film is a biopic of the relatively unknown titular Polish jazz musician and composer (a contemporary of Krzysztof Komeda’s), and also won the Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (The Last Family [+see also:
interview: Dawid Ogrodnik
film profile]’s Dawid Ogrodnik), Best Cinematography (Witold Płóciennik), Best Costume Design (Agata Culak), Best Make-up (Jolanta Dańda) and Best Music (Leszek Możdżer).
Corpus Christi [+see also:
interview: Jan Komasa
film profile] by Jan Komasa, which has already done the rounds at Venice (where it won two awards) and Toronto, and is the official Polish entry for the Academy Awards, took home Best Director, Best Screenplay (Mateusz Pacewicz), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Nina [+see also:
film profile]’s Eliza Rycembel) and the Audience Award.
The Coldest Game, directed by Łukasz Kośmicki, a spy-thriller set in the 1960s and made in the English language with an international cast (including Bill Pullman and Lotte Verbeek), won the Special Jury Prize and the Best Editing Award (Robert Gryka, Wolfgang Weigl and Krzysztof Arszennik).
Sebastian Stankiewicz was crowned Best Supporting Actor for his role as an aspiring writer who is also a communist secret-police informant in Mr. T by Marcin Krzyształowicz, a black-and-white, surreal tale set in Warsaw in 1953. The Best Actress in a Leading Role Award went to Magdalena Boczarska, who starred in the political biopic Piłsudski, while the Best Professional Acting Debut nod was given to Zofia Domalik (All For My Mother). Supernova [+see also:
film profile] by Bartosz Kruhlik was deemed to be the Best Debut. What’s more, veteran director Krzysztof Zanussi accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award. He stated in his speech that art should be free of pressures and cracked a joke that the Golden Lions should be separated into a Lion and a Lioness, referring to the gender parity pledge that the festival has made.
The 44th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia was by far the most intense and dynamic edition of recent years. In July, after the main competition line-up was announced without reflecting the recommendations made by the selection committee (an advisory body), the Polish film industry protested, and four films – Interior, Bird Talk [+see also:
interview: Xawery Żuławski
film profile], Supernova and Żużel – were added to the selection, although the latter movie was ultimately withdrawn by the producers. During the gathering, Solid Gold by Jacek Bromski, a political thriller based on actual events, was withdrawn from the festival by its co-producer TVP (the Polish public broadcaster), then brought back. In the end, TVP terminated the contract with Solid Gold producer Akson Studio and demanded the reimbursement of their subsidy. Additionally, pressure was exerted on the festival to remove another film, Mr. T, from the competition owing to an ongoing legal conflict over copyrights.
The Polish Directors Guild called a special meeting during Gdynia, which was attended by Agnieszka Holland, Paweł Pawlikowski, Małgorzata Szumowska, Wojciech Smarzowski and Andrzej Jakimowski (head of the guild), among others. They publicly discussed current events and proposed changes to the Polish Film Festival’s statute – for example, reinstating the role of artistic director – in order to make the event free of any kind of political or industry pressure. Many award-winning filmmakers also addressed this matter in their acceptance speeches. The festival concluded on 21 September.
Here is the complete list of award winners:
Special Jury Award
The Coldest Game – Łukasz Kośmicki (Poland)
Mateusz Pacewicz – Corpus Christi
Witold Płóciennik – Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz
Leszek Możdżer – Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz
Best Production Design
Grzegorz Piątkowski – Mr. Jones
Marcin Jachyra, Jarosław Czernichowski, Oliwier Synkowski, Marcin Lenarczyk – Interior (Poland)
Robert Gryka, Wolfgang Weigl, Krzysztof Arszennik – The Coldest Game
Jolanta Dańda – Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz
Best Costume Design
Agata Culak – Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Eliza Rycembel – Corpus Christi
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Sebastian Stankiewicz – Mr. T (Poland)
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Magdalena Boczarska – Piłsudski (Poland)
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Leszek Dawid – Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz
Best Professional Acting Debut
Zofia Domalik – All For My Mother (Poland)
Corpus Christi – Jan Komasa
Don’t Change the Topic – Hubert Patynowski (Poland)
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