Poland Now


October 25-28, 2018

Istanbul Modern Cinema presents a program bringing together examples of recent contemporary Polish cinema. The program features films by emerging directors of Polish cinema that have earned acclaim and won awards at international festivals. Among the films in the selection, Mug (Twarz) depicts the tragicomic story of the first man to receive a face implant in Poland. The Prince and the Dybbuk, the winner of this year’s Best Documentary Award at the Venice Film Festival, brings the mysterious life of Michal Waszynski, one of the leading film directors from 1930s Poland, to the movie screens. Cold War, the winner of Best Director award at Cannes this year, takes place after World War II, telling the passionate love story of two musicians. The program also includes a selection of award-winning shorts from Poland.



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MUG (TWARZ), 2018

Poland| DCP, Color, 91’ | Polish
Director: Malgorzata Szumowska
Cast: Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Malgorzata Gorol

Mug is a black comedy that depicts the story of Jacek, a man who suffers a tragic accident and becomes immortalized as the first person in Poland to receive a face transplant. Jacek’s life is turned upside down when his face is severely injured when he falls from the top of the gigantic Jesus sculpture that he has been working on in his small town in Poland. Once he is out of the hospital, we encounter a completely new side of the Catholics in this small town. As in her earlier films, director Malgorzata Szumowska offers her observations on how the Catholic Church shapes the reactions of families and society when faced with differences. Caricaturizing the small town culture of Poland, the film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlinale Film Festival in 2018.




Poland, France, United Kingdom |DCP, Black-White, 88' |Polish, French, German
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Cast: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc

Pawel Pawlikowski who won the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film with his former film Ida, returns with another film with several awards. Set against the backdrop of the ruinous post-war Poland, Wiktor has been appointed as the art director of the dance and music collective with a mission to rejuvenate the country’s folklore. Wiktor falls in love with Zula, her voice and the light she emanates during the try-outs. Cold War portrays the passionate and melancholic love affair between these two musicians. Shot in black and white, this minimalist film is also striking with its musical variety from jazz to folk music.




Poland, Czech Republic | DCP, Color, 106’ |Polish
Director: Jagoda Szelc
Cast: Anna Krotoska, Malgorzata Szczerbowska, Anna Zubrzycki

In her first feature-length film, Jagoda Szelc focuses on the conflicts and traumas that are kept hidden during the daily humdrum of life. Mula and Kaja are two estranged sisters who come together at a family gathering. The older sister Mula has a very organized life; she is always logical and responsible; she has been taking care of their sick mother for years, and she does everything in her power to make sure that all is in order in her seven year old daughter’s life. On the other hand, Kaja who suddenly reappears is the mysterious and somewhat “weird” sister. From the moment Kaja sets foot in the orderly home of her older sister Mula, things begin falling apart and like Mula, all the family members start to become uncomfortable. Tower. A Bright Day was nominated for the Best Film Award in the Forum section at the Berlinale Film Festival.




Poland, Germany |DCP, Color, 82' |Polish, German, English
Director: Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosolowski
Cast: Michael Babchuk, Batia Beigl, Alex Mankiewicz

The Prince And The Dybbuk is a documentary on the story of Michael Waszynski, one of the most mysterious directors of his time. The film investigates the private life and the artistic career of this man who was born as Moshe Waks, the son of a poor Jewish ironmonger, but was referred to as Prince Michael Waszynski at the time of his death following years of working with famous people such as Sophia Loren, Orson Welles and Claudia Cardinale. The documentary, which brings together accounts of people who knew him, archival recordings and the research conducted by the film’s directors, was granted the Venice Classics Award in 2017.




Poland|DCP, Color, 108' |Polish
Director: Lukasz Palkowski
Cast: Jakub Gierszal, Arkadiusz Jakubik, Janusz Gajos

Breaking The Limits focuses on the Polish athlete Jerzy Górski and his life filled with years of drug addiction followed by his move into sports and finally his decision to compete for Ironman. As the film depicts Górski’s story, it also drops hints about life in the socialist Poland in the 1970s and 80s. Based on a true but mostly unknown life story of Jerzy Górski, the film shows how the athlete is both a hero and his own worst enemy




Poland|Blu-ray, Color, 100' |Polish
Director: Piotr Domalewski
Cast: Dawid Ogrodnik, Tomasz Zietek, Agnieszka Suchora

Adam has been working in the Netherlands for a few years. For Christmas, he decides to go and visit his family, whose members are all trying to make ends meet in a small town in Poland. When Adam discloses the real reason for his visit after such a long time during the family Christmas dinner, hidden truths slowly begin to surface and each family member is forced to start facing facts. In his first feature length film, director Piort Domalewski portrays the poignant story of a family struggling for a better life while also revealing the social and economic realities of rural life.




With the Contributions of

Best Fireworks Ever (Najpiękniejsze fajerwerki ever), 2017

Poland|HDD, Color, 30' |Polish
Director: Aleksandra Terpinska
Cast: Justyna Wasilewska, Malwina Buss, Piotr Polak

The film follows a day in the life of three friends living in a European city. As the friends find themselves in the middle of a military conflict, they will have to make difficult choices that may affect their futures.


Close Ties (Więzi), 2016

Poland|HDD, Color, 18' |Polish
Director: Zofia Kowalewska

Barbara and Zdzisław have been through an eight-year separation following 45 years of marriage. Although Zdzisław has been with another women during these eight years, he is now back with his first partner, and the daily humdrum and routines have all reappeared like before. The film illustrates the elusive connection between these partners for life.


Impossible Figures and other stories II (Figury niemożliwe i inne historie II), 2016

Poland|HDD, Color, 14' |Without dialogue
Director: Marta Pajek

A woman tumbles down after she trips while running around in her house. When she finally gets up, she starts to recognize weird things about her house. 


Foreign Body (Ciało obce), 2016

Poland|HDD, Color, 7' |Without dialogue
Director: Marta Magnuska

An experiment on internal and external transformation. Can something that feels foreign at first slowly grow on us to become indispensable?


Polonaise (Polonez), 2016

Poland|HDD, Color, 7' |Polish
Director: Agnieszka Elbanowska

The director of the town’s cultural center organizes a competition. The aim of the competition participants is to create a performance that depicts their patriotism. There is one condition: participants must perform their own original ideas. Through the competition the most patriotic person of the town will be chosen on the national independence day of Poland.

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