In the world of film journalism, there’s this funny phenomenon called ‘eruption’. As soon as two or three films from a relatively obscure country are distributed abroad, film critics tend to speak of an ‘eruption of Kyrgizic films’, or a ‘Guatamaltese New Wave’. Remember when that dude who did Dogtooth released another film? All of a sudden we were amidst a true Greek Cinema Eruption. There has been a considerable amount of Polish films in the recent, so I’ll grab the opportunity to coin Polands’ latest ‘eruption’.
Now of course Poland isn’t exactly an obscure country when it comes to cinema. In the mid-fifties, the Polish Film School emerged. Directors like Andrzej Wajda and Andrzej Munk took advantage of the liberal changes the country underwent. Their films dealt often with Poland’s post-war history, most notably Wajda’s masterpiece Diamonds and Ashes (1956), and were heavily influenced by Italian neorealist films. A bit later, Roman Polanski surprised the international community with his debut film Knife in the Water (1962), a claustrophobic thriller which earned Poland its first Academy Award nomination. And then in the 80’s, to take a leap forward, Krzysztof Kiéslowksi rose to fame with Dekalog (1988), a series of one-hour films which were shot for television originally, but were released in cinema’s internationally after critical acclaim.
In the 2000’s, it was relatively quiet. Not many Polish films were released, in Holland that is. Of course the Poles didn’t stop making films. Recently however, a few nice Polish films did find their way to the cinema’s over here. An eruption! So let me sum up the essential Polish films of the last couple of years.
|Popular actors||Agata Trzebuchowska, Mateusz Banasiuk & Józef Pawlowski|
|Trending movies||11 Minut, Ziarno Prawdy & Miasto 44|
Anticipated 2017 Polish movies to watch
Pokot (Friday February 24, 2017)Director Agnieszka Holland Cast Agnieszka Mandat-Grabka
Pokot is a new Polish mystery drama directed and written by Agnieszka Holland, one of Poland's most successful and renowned filmmakers. It deals with an elderly woman living alone in the woods who starts to discover a series of strange murders that all seem to be connected. She believes the murder isn't human, but rather an animal......Read more
Best Polish movies on Netflix or DVD in 2017 & 20162010's best rated Polish movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon).
Ida (Friday August 30, 2013)Director Pawel Pawlikowski Cast Agata Kulesza
You often wonder why contemporary directors decide to shoot a film in black and white. It’s an aesthetic choice obviously, but it doesn’t always really add value. Well, in Ida, it does. It actually increases the film’s authenticity. Ida follows a young soon-to-be nun in the 1960’s who embarks on an inner journey after she discovers her Jewish origins. The bleakness of post-WW2 Poland couldn’t have been portrayed more convincing, which is the cinematographers merit. The film’s greatest triumph is Agata Trzebuchowska though, who balances brilliantly between hardness and serenity in portraying Ida. In color, she wouldn’t be half as enigmatic and enchanting....Read more
Aftermath (Friday November 9, 2012)Director Wladyslaw Pasikowski Cast Maciej Stuhr
Poland was one of the countries that suffered the most from the Second World War, that much we know. As in every big war, there are thousands of mini wars fought on a local scale., which Aftermath illustrates harrowingly. The films takes place in 2000, as Franizek, a Polish emigré returns to his home country from the United States after his father died. At home, he learns that his estranged brother is obsessed by Jewish tombstones which were resurfaced after heavy rainfall. At first Franizek doesn’t quite understand his brothers’ urge to do justice to the graves, but as the local population becomes increasingly hostile to them, he’s determined to find out what’s going on. Aftermath works well as a thriller dealing with historical matters that still slumber today, even though the script is sometimes a bit too obvious in making clear what it’s trying to achieve...Read more
In Darkness (Friday September 2, 2011)Director Agnieszka Holland Cast Robert Wieckiewicz
Director Agnieszka Holland, who once started her carreer in film making as Andrzej Wajda’s assistent, is definetely one of Poland’s most prolific directors. During her career, she made films in over five countries. The last couple of years she was particularly involved with shooting TV series. And not the least, so to say, as she directed several episodes of high profile TV shows like The Wire, The Killing and Treme. In Darkness marked her return as a true Polish film director. It is a craftfully made WWII drama about a sewer worker who helps escaped Jews into hiding. In Darkness is a moving film that will have you on the edge of your seat, even though there’s the inevitable amount of cliché WWII hero worship....Read more
Zjednoczone stany milosci (United States of Love) (Wednesday June 29, 2016)Director Tomasz Wasilewski Cast Julia Kijowska
Shot in sombre tones, 'United States of Love' tells four different tales of women who are dealing with their newly acquired freedom after the demolition of the communist system. Beautiful cinematography and strong acting performances makes this Polish movie one of the standouts of 2016....Read more
In The Name Of (Friday February 8, 2013)Director Malgorzata Szumowska Cast Andrzej Chyra
Poland is a country where the conservatie Catholic church still holds a strong position, which makes Malgorzata Szumowska gay drama film In the Name Of all the more daring and controversial. It deals with Adam, a young Catholic priest who is a closeted homosexual. After he messed up some things earlier in his life, he is now living in a small village, working with troubled teenagers. He seems to have his life back on track, until he starts having feelings for one of the boys he’s working with. In the Name Of is a beautifully shot and sensitive film about the burden of celibacy....Read more
Floating Skyscrapers (Tuesday October 22, 2013)Director Tomasz Wasilewski Cast Mateusz Banasiuk
Another Polish gay drama, but that’s were the comparisons with the aforementioned film end. Whereas In the Name Of is visually colorful and, in the end hopeful, Floating Skyscrapers is bleak and ultimately depressing. Kuba is a young and talented swimmer who lives with his girlfriend at his bossy mother’s place. When he falls in love with another man, he sees his world slowly falling apart. Floating Skyscrapers, elegantly and exclusively shot in shades of blue and gray, is a confrontational portrait of a young homosexual in a society where, apparently, still a lot has to be done in terms of gay emancipation....Read more