There’s no denying it – Polish films can sometimes be harsh and heavy. Serious subject matter plus an almost inbred flare for drama equals films that are not exactly your typical cinematic escapes from reality. Polish films challenge you. They confront you with raw reality. Three great examples of this were recently showcased at Hot Docs when, on Saturday night, Marcin Janos Krawczyk’s short film Six Weeks, Pawel Lozinski’s Chemo and Jedrzej Niestroj’s and Rafal Przybyl’s A Man Came and Took Her made their festival debut.
Six Weeks was an emotionally challenging story about a mother who has been given six weeks to make a final decision on her choice to give up her recently born baby for adoption. The film in only 18-minutes in length but in that span of time Director Marcin Janos Krawczyk does a wonderful job of conveying the heart wrenching decision of this young mother.
Chemo gives us a glimpse into the fears and hopes of patients going through chemotherapy. The film is entirely shot from the perspective of a patient. We see and hear close-ups of intimate conversations and feel like we too are a patient or visitor in that room. The conversations range in emotion but overall there is a great sense of hope. Patients are optimistic and determined to win the fight. It’s really a fascinating look at the human spirit.
In A Man Came and Took Her audiences are given an intimate look into the investigation relating to the disappearance of a young girl who vanished from a small village. We don’t follow the police investigators but rather focus on the desperate efforts of the girl’s mother. Thrown into the mix is the sudden confession of a neighbour who later retracts his confession and eventually throws everyone into a spin. Directors Jedrzej Niestroj and Rafal Przybyl spent eight years making this film. After the screening they conducted a Q&A and spoke about the difficulties of staying objective after investing so much of themselves into this tragic story.
It was a harsh night but definitely worth it. All the films really resonated with the audience and provided a lot of food for though.
The conversation did continue. Following the Q&A members of YouNxt, Ekran and the audience got together for a round of drinks. Accompanying us were Jedrzej and Rafal as well as members of their filmmaking team, Producer Zbigniew Kowalski and Bogna Podbielska.
Sitting around at a café in Yorkville we had a lively conversation about…almost everything. We were curious to get their perspective on things and they were curious to hear from us. Before you knew it was two in the morning. Time flies by when you’re having a blast. Overall, it was a very engaging night with some very fascinating and cool people. Great films, great company and great wine – you can’t beat that.