The IFI & Kinopolis Polish Film Festival returns for its 12th season from December 7th to 10th with a programme of films celebrating one of Europe’s strongest filmmaking communities.
The 2017 Kinopolis Polish Film Festival kicks off with a screening of Spoor from Oscar-nominated director Agnieszka Holland, one of Poland’s most renowned filmmakers.
At this year’s Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, seven of the seventeen films in competition were either directed or co-directed by women, including recent IFI hit Loving Vincent. This strong showing for female filmmakers follows through to the 2017 Kinopolis programme, with four of the six features chosen for the programme directed by women, ranging from relative newcomer Maria Sadowska (The Art of Loving) to veteran Holland.
Among the topics explored throughout the slate include immigration and displacement (Birds are Singing in Kigali), the experience of the Polish diaspora (Beyond Words), and the rise of nationalism (Be Prepared). Contemporary Polish animation will once again be showcased in the perennially popular shorts programme.
Commenting on the programme, IFI Cinema Programmer Kevin Coyne said, “We’re very pleased to present this year’s edition of the festival, and are particularly delighted to have had the opportunity to include a majority of talented women filmmakers in the line-up. IFI & Kinopolis 2017 reinforces Poland’s position as one of Europe’s major filmmaking centres.”
In Agniezska Holland’s Spoor, Duszejko (Agnieszka Mandat) is a staunch advocate for animal rights in a rural area where hunting is a way of life. When the bodies of local hunters are found in mysterious circumstances, Duszejko begins her own investigation, convinced that the police are entirely wrong in their assumptions.
In Beyond Words, Polish-born, Berlin-based lawyer Michael (Jakub Gierszał) has fully assimilated into German society. Although he hasn’t fully disavowed his Polish heritage, it is something from which he keeps his distance. The sudden reappearance of the father he thought dead forces him to re-engage with the past he thought he had left behind.
A stylish and eccentric sci-fi thriller from director Bodo Cox (The Girl From The Wardrobe), The Man With The Magic Box is set in a dystopian Warsaw of 2030. Adam (Piotr Polak) is an office cleaner with no memory of his former life. When he uncovers a radio that broadcasts old programmes from the 1950s and that makes time travel possible, his neighbour Goria (Olga Bołądź), with whom he has slowly developed a relationship, must set out to find him after he suddenly disappears.
In Birds are Singing in Kigali, lead actresses Jowita Budnik and Eliane Umuhire excel as the Polish ornithologist working in Rwanda and the native daughter of a murdered colleague smuggled out of the country at the time of the genocide against the Tutsi. Safely in Poland, the two struggle with bureaucracy and the effects of the atrocities they witnessed. Budnik and Umuhire shared the Best Actress prize at the Gydnia Film Festival for this compassionate and poignant film.
Robert Glyński’s Be Prepared takes its inspiration from the spirit of Lord of The Flies. A group of Polish boy scouts take part in summer camp, learning nature skills and the value of co-operation. When a group of underprivileged Ukranian children join the group, they bring discord to the camp. Matters escalate further with the discovery of the body of one of the scouts. This psychological thriller acts a brilliant allegory for the ever-present danger of nationalism. Glyński himself will also be in attendance to participate in a Q&A after the Be Prepared screening on Saturday, 9th December.
The always popular animated shorts programme also returns this year. This year’s diverse selection includes films about the only person with a head in a world of people without; the relationship between a man and his exotic pets; an impressionistic portrayal of a life remembered; a man born without a defined shape; an overprotective mother and her son; and an examination on the ways in which we separate ourselves from others.
Closing the 2017 festival will be Maria Sadowska’s The Art of Loving: The Story of Michalina Wisłocka. This film centres on the fascinating life of gynaecologist and sexologist Wisłocka, and is led by a tour-de-force performance by Magdalena Boczarska. Wisłocka came to public attention in the 1970s for her book The Art of Loving, a frank and accessible guide to sex and sexuality that endured a tortuous path to publication as she fought against the censorship of her material imposed by authorities.
DECEMBER 7TH (18.20): SPOOR
DECEMBER 8TH (18.30): BEYOND WORDS
DECEMBER 8TH (20.45): THE MAN WITH THE MAGIC BOX
DECEMBER 9TH (15.30): BIRDS ARE SINGING IN KIGALI
DECEMBER 9TH (18.00): BE PREPARED (including Q&A with Robert Glyński)
DECEMBER 10TH (12.00): ANIMATION PROGRAMME
DECEMBER 10TH (18.00): THE ART OF LOVING: THE STORY OF MICHALINA WISŁOCKA
For more information about the festival and to buy tickets, visit the IFI website. Individual festival tickets cost €11 and a festival multi-pass, four festival films for €38, is available in person or by phone from the IFI Box Office on 01-6793477.
Kinopolis Polish Film Festival
Irish Film Institute (IFI)
6, Eustace Street
Tel: 01 679 3477 (Box Office)
All photos courtesy IFI