Films for 'polish shorts' (9)
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The film-makers were right in assuming that a vocal commentary in this story would be absolutely redundant. The entire life experience of the main protagonist is engraved in the wrinkled face of a mother who, despite her old age, regularly covers a 450-kilometre distance to visit her son serving a prison sentence. These moments in a visiting room are all she can hope for to express her feelings: longing, persistent concern, her wise resignation to her lot. The camera follows her daily life in a poor village as she raises her grandchildren, prays, and waits. Will she live to see her son a free man? After all, he still has ten long years to serve.


Places like this are scarce. Time in this mountain village in Slovakia goes by with its own lazy rhythm. Its blissful tranquillity is occasionally interrupted by the announcements of the Funeral Society on the local radio. They are sometimes accompanied with up-tempo folk music. Nearly every inhabitant of the village is elderly, and all the while, more and more space is taken up at the local cemetery. We pry into the lives of the remaining inhabitants in their daily house work, their toil on the farms and at the local inn, where they sojourn long hours. The camera adjusts to the rhythm of their lives, it takes in the fabulous landscapes and studies the picturesque details of a slowly waning world. This modest film by Bobrik manages to merge documentary attentiveness with warm, and at times sarcastic microscopic observation.

Where The Sum Doesn't Rush

Who is the young doctor from the transplant ward? Is she the ‘benevolent spirit of transplantations’ or a cold professional doing her job without any sign of emotion? We follow her daily routine as she diagnoses cause of death and saves the lives of other patients through organ transplants. In the course of her work, split-second decisions must be made and there is all too often little time for subtle divagations. However, one day the doctor has to face the ordeal of meeting the mother of a tragically deceased girl. With almost para-documentary insight, the director looks at the hospital reality, where next to hard scientific facts there is the less complicated space of interpersonal tensions and emotions that are hard to express in words. Without superfluous speech, operating through the power of images and the actors’ expressiveness, Wnuk tells a story of people who are responsible for other people’s lives, but who also feel morally obliged to care of those who lost their nearest.

What The Doctors Say

In this poetic film, Linn Karen Foerland depicts the inner world of an old woman – a resident of a nursing home. There are plenty of surprising associations, surreal pictures and saturated fairyland colours. Before us appears the rapturous scene of an old woman at the end of her life. There are angelic little girls, flowery meadows, pink balloons, troubadour violinists, and shameless baths in popcorn. Old age and childhood meet in a magic circle forming a symbolic unity. However, these idyllic pictures are repeatedly juxtaposed with the reality of life at the home for the aged: with its gaping empty corridors, perfunctory nursing care and lonely life in seclusion.

Come To Heaven

Smuggled across borders, cheated by immoral intermediaries, trailed by police, at the mercy of foreigners – such is the fate of illegal immigrants from Vietnam who try to settle in Poland. Among them is young Mai Anh, whose boyfriend now works at a bazaar in Warsaw. Their meeting in a foreign country will not transpire as they had imagined. This film debut leaves no doubts as to the fate of refugees: in their new lives in the ‘promised land’ they are constantly hounded and frequently need to deny their identity. In the struggle for survival under these new circumstances, such values as solidarity, friendship and love will not prevail. The film’s creators present this phenomenon from a very intimate perspective, without resorting to predictable narrative methods or simple generalisations in their evaluation of the protagonists.

Hanoi - Warsaw

The film opens with a visit to a crimescene. Rain falls in sheets as a reconstruction of the blood-curdling circumstances of a murder is underway. Arek does not spare any vital details, Damian claims he was “only” watching. Their savagery shall remain an incomprehensible mystery – especially for the parents of the victim, who decide to directly confront one of the murderers. Von Horn takes a closer look at all the participants of the drama – including a psychologist helping in the investigation who does not conceal the depth of his emotional involvement in the case. Using simple, restrained means, the film renders an exceptionally condensed psychological situation in which all the protagonists remain helpless and lonely in their encounter with evil. An analogous feeling seizes those watching the film.


Our heroine stopped praying long ago. As a thirteen year-old girl she was brought from her native Turkey to Germany to marry one of her cousins. This is how her childhood ended – she became the property of a husband who tortures and degrades her. She finally decides to flee, but must continuously be in hiding. Condemned by both families, she has no chance at a normal life, neither as a wife nor a divorcee. The film is not a typical intervention reportage, but a poetic collage comprising of documentary material, family photographs and children’s drawings. This individual life story reflectsthestoriesof many other girls and women subjected to a patriarchal law still enforced by tacit consent in the multicultural societies of Western Europe.

Little Bride

“Berlin without a wall is no longer as snug” – as one protagonist of this play clay animation film shall regret fully remark, witnessing the revolutionary changes of 1989 in Europe. It is a story of a bunny from Vienna who, upon his arrival in Berlin, finds paradise in the no-man’s land between the walls, as well as the love of his life, which – he hopes – will allow him to improve the genetic makeup of the crumbling aristocratic lineage he belongs to. Adapted from a children’s book written by Irene Dische and Hans Magnus Enzensberger, the filmtells the story of a recent past, which for some has brought long-awaited freedom, and for others disappointment and a longing for the former system, commonly known as ‘ostalgia’. Merging detailed realism with surrealism, Plucińska animates the mascot of the united Berlin to perversely and without prejudice look back at the events from 20 years ago.


It has been 43 years since Krzysztof Kieślowski directed his documentary film The Offce, depicting the work of the Civil Registry Office. Tomasz Wolski attempts to take a closer look at a similar institution but from a different perspective. He is not interested in the work of the stiff bureaucratic machinery, which in Kieślowski’s film was a subtle metaphor for the totalitarian system. The young director instead inspects the formalities and rituals to see in them a humanistic dimension. There are heaps of applicants coming to the local office in the Krakow district of Nowa Huta. They are of different ages and all come to register the most important moments of their lives: births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Wolski records this procession of life and death with warmth and humour, and also with a philosophical meditation over the vicissitudes of human destiny.

The Lucky Ones