57th Krakow Film Festival

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  • Sunday, May 28, 2017 - Sunday, June 4, 2017

Krakow Film Festival is one of the oldest events in Europe dedicated to documentary, animated and short feature films.

Faces of Cinematography

Local histories and tales from Germany, Mexico and the world over – the Krakow Film Festival knows no borders!

Between 28 May and 4 June, we will see over 250 films shown on 12 screens. “From coming of age stories to the refugee crisis, from portraits of strong women to tales of love until the grave, there are topical, relevant subjects and contemporary, always original voices supported by history,” promises Krzysztof Gierat, director of the 57th Krakow Film Festival.

Face to face

What do Meryl Streep, John Travolta and Angelina Jolie have to do with the oldest film festival in this part of Europe? Although we won’t be seeing them on screen, the Hollywood stars gazing upon us from festival posters and flyers symbolise our love of cinema. The amateur portraits used as part of this year’s promotional campaign are displayed at the exhibition Face to Face at the Małopolska Garden of Arts, open throughout the festival.

Small mirror to the big world

The international competition for the Golden Horn features eighteen documentaries from around the globe. They include fascinating portraits of charismatic people. The Rebel Surgeon – the latest documentary by Erik Gandini, author of The Swedish Theory of Love – tells the story of a doctor who abandoned his comfortable job in Sweden for a demanding, challenging life in Ethiopia. We will also discover the fascinating tale of a Lithuanian researcher into glaciers in the visually dazzling A Woman and a Glacier (dir. Audrius Stonys).

“It’s a small mirror to the big world,” says Krzysztof Gierat about the international short film competition. Films competing for the Golden Dragon include Aleksander Pietrzak’s bitter-sweet Me and My Father; the protagonist (played by the outstanding Łukasz Simlat) tries to rebuild his relationship with his father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. There is also a competition for animations, featuring Travelling Country – a universal fairytale on how greed and desire for power can lead to the fall of civilisation (dir. Ivan Bogdanov, Vessela Dantcheva), Zbigniew Czapla’s surreal Strange Case filled with artistic visions, and Paulina Ziółkowska’s Oh Mother! – a visually captivating tale of a relationship between mother and son.

This year’s Polish film competition is dominated by documentaries, with a powerful theme of war and destruction. Krzysztof Lang’s controversial My Enemy, My Love tells the story of a teenage girl flirting with German soldiers during the Second World War. Miss Holocaust (dir. Irena Siedlar) presents the fascinating beauty competition held every year in Haifa, while Sierakowiak’s Diary recalls the horrifying and surprising everyday lives in the Łódź ghetto. At the other end of the spectrum, we find Marcin Janos Krawczyk’s Land of the Homeless – a chronicle of an extraordinary project of the construction of a ship which will allow a group of homeless people to fulfil their dream of sailing around the world.

One of the most fascinating documentaries shown as part of the music competition DocFilmMusic is Chavela (dir. Catherine Gund, Daresha Kyi) – a tale of the woman in the red poncho: the legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas and her life of many love affairs with influential women of her time, including Frida Kahlo. Another Latina protagonist is Sara Baras, the most outstanding dancer and choreographer in the history of flamenco, presented in the biopic Sara Baras, All Her Voices (dir. Rafá Molés, Pepe Andreu).

Somewhere in Europe

This year’s Panorama of Polish Film is dominated by local topics. We will learn about the lives of two Cracovian authors: Jerzy Pilch in Adam Lewandowski’s A Film on Pilch and Stanisław Lem in Borys Lankosz’s documentary The Author of Solaris. Tristan Anderson and Paulina Bondaronek’s Exodus recalls the infamous outdoor spectacle Neomonachomachia by Kraków’s KTO Theatre and its fallout.

The section Focus on Germany presents the most fascinating documentaries made by our western neighbours. In Brother Jacob, Eli Roland Sachs tries to make sense of his brother’s decision to convert to Islam after studying the Koran, while Carolin Genreith seeks to unravel her father’s relationship with a much younger Thai woman in Happy.

Sounds of music

During Sound of Music, we join Piotr Metz to see films about legendary bards Bob Dylan (I’m Not There, dir. Todd Haynes), Leonard Cohen (Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, dir. Lian Lunson) and Vladimir Vysotskiy (Vysotskiy, dir. Pyotr Buslov).

Celebrating seventy years of Polish animation, we will see retrospectives of outstanding representatives of the genre: Daniel Szczechura and Witold Giersz (joint winners of this year’s Dragon of Dragons). The legendary animation by the latter, Please, Mr. Elephant, is shown as part of the Kids and Youth section. The festival is also accompanied by concerts, including Mary Komasa’s performance at Forum Przestrzenie.

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“Far from red carpets, we will see films presenting personal, intimate looks on the world and humankind,” promise the organisers. See them face to face! (Justyna Skalska, "Karnet" magazine)

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