The Kinopolis is a great part of the Irish Film Institute’s programming, sharing some of the best films from Poland to audiences in Ireland, a great feature also for Ireland’s Polish community. The programme for this year’s Polish Film Festival has arrived this afternoon, and this year with it running at the IFI from December 7 – 10, Kinopolis will bring a metropolis of movies from Poland to the fair city of film.
Today the IFI announced the line up for the 2023 four-day celebration of new Polish cinema, Kinopolis. Booking is open now at ifi.ie/kinopolis.
This year’s edition of IFI Kinopolis takes us from the beautifully animated life of nineteenth century rural Poland to a (hopefully) distant future where humanity may be about to wink out of existence at the hands of an implacable AI. Between the two, we are complicit in the tension and subterfuge of life as a spy, visit the edge of the world and the deep underground, listen captivated to some of the world’s greatest interpreters of Chopin’s music, dance, and try desperately to get a job that will help us afford a decent place to live.
The festival’s annual précis of new Polish film once again captures the breadth and diversity of the country’s remarkable national cinema. Alongside the selection of new and established talent, the Institute are also pleased to present a film by a truly singular Polish auteur, Walerian Borowczyk, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth.
The IFI team have worked hard this year to ensure that many filmmakers and actors represented in the Kinopolis programme will come to Dublin to present their work. Their presence will add to a memorable weekend of the best movies and minds emerging from a country with which we share a real connection. Eight features will screen over the course of the event, and you can check out everything showing at Kinopolis below.
THE PEASANTS (CHŁOPI)
D.K. Welchman, Hugh Welchman
THURS 7th (18.20) 112 mins, Poland-Serbia-Lithuania, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
From the directors of Loving Vincent (2017) comes this ravishingly beautiful adaptation of the novel by Polish Nobel laureate Władisław Reymont (1867–1925), a book still taught in the author’s homeland. Animated in a style drawing on contemporaneous Polish art, it focuses on the beautiful Jagna (Kamila Urzedowska), a member of a close-knit community in a rural Polish village where tradition is paramount. Object of both envy and desire, rumours spread about her promiscuity, even as she does in fact risk everything by engaging in an illicit romance with the married son of the area’s richest farmer, who himself has his eye on her as a possible bride. Followed by Q&A with co-director Hugh Welchman
FEAST OF FIRE (ŚWIĘTO OGNIA)
Dir. Kinga Dębska
FRI 8th (18.20) 94 mins, Poland, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
In Kinga Dębska’s heartwarming new film, devoted sisters Nastka (Paulina Pytlak) and Łucja (Joanna Drabik) must each contend with the very different constraints imposed upon them by their physical limitations. While Nastka has spent her life confined to a wheelchair following medical negligence that saw her starved of oxygen at birth, her sister has become a leading ballerina in one of Poland’s most prestigious and demanding companies. As Łucja’s entire career and indeed sense of self are put at risk by an injury, Nastka is encouraged by vivacious new neighbour Józefina (Kinga Preis) to become part of the wider world, and to fight for experiences she might previously never have considered.
Dir. Jakub Piątek
SAT 9th (13.10) 91 mins, Germany-Poland, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
Since its inception in 1927, the International Chopin Piano Competition, devoted solely to performances of the composer’s work, has taken place in Warsaw every five years. Hugely prestigious, it has the power and authority to launch winners’ careers overnight. However, to illustrate the standards expected of competitors, it twice happened in the 1990s that there was no award for first place. Jakub Piątek’s observational documentary follows a group of competitors at the most recent event. As personalities become more evident and the styles of approach are differentiated, the film becomes a fascinating insight into the dedication required to participate in such rarefied circles, and the attendant costs.
THE LAST SPARK OF HOPE (W NICH CAŁA NADZIEJA)
Dir. Piotr Biedroń
SAT 9th (15.15) 88 mins, Poland, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
Piotr Biedroń’s debut feature is a timely film that addresses issues central to the future of our species, such as climate change and artificial intelligence. Following the Climate Wars, inspired by the mass movement of refugees and the scarcity of basic resources, Ewa (Magdalena Wieczorek) is, as far as she knows, the last surviving human. Her only company in her encampment is a former military robot (voiced by Jacek Beler) who constantly roams the perimeter, challenging anyone who tries to enter for the latest password. When this changes while Ewa is still outside, she must try to reason with the robot in order to save her own life. Followed by Q&A with director Piotr Biedroń and actor Magdalena Wieczorek
DOPPELGÄNGER. THE DOUBLE (DOPPELGÄNGER. SOBOWTÓR)
Dir. Jan Holoubek
SAT 9th (17.45) 115 mins, Poland-Latvia, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
An elderly woman searching for the child she gave up finds him. He, Hans (Jakub Gierszał), takes the opportunity to leave Communist Poland to join her and his new family in the West. However, Hans is in reality a spy who has stolen this identity, using his position in a Strasbourg office to feed information to his superiors at home. Meanwhile, the real missing son, Jan (Tomasz Schuchardt), remains behind the Iron Curtain, an active member of Solidarity fighting for a free Poland whose ongoing search for his mother puts his counterpart at risk of discovery. Gierszał is chilling as the ruthless operative in this gripping psychological thriller. Followed by Q&A with actor Jakub Gierszał
THE STORY OF SIN (DZIEJE GRZECHU)
Dir. Walerian Borowczyk
SUN 10th (13.00) 130 mins, Poland, 1975, Digital, Subtitled
Screening to mark its director’s centenary, The Story Of Sin is the only film made by Walerian Borowczyk in his native Poland. This film, relatively restrained by the filmmaker’s usual standards (see The Beast, 1975), follows the decline in fortunes of Ewa (Grażyna Długołęcka) brought about by her inextinguishable love for a married man, Łukasz (Jerzy Zelnik). When the pious, chaste young woman is seduced and abandoned by the man, she follows him across Europe, her desperate search leading to an ever more precipitous fall from grace. Borowczyk’s masterful manipulation of melodramatic conventions was a huge hit in his homeland, and remains a fine example of work from a singular director.
ONE SOUL (JEDNA DUSZA)
Dir. Łukasz Karwowski
SUN 10th (15.45) 94 mins, Poland, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
Dawid Ogrodnik, one of Poland’s most consistently versatile and impressive actors, turns in another chameleonic performance as miner Alojz. Overly fond of alcohol, with a tendency to violence when drunk, Alojz oscillates between tenderness and cruelty to those around him, bullying an effeminate new colleague and abusing wife Anna (Małgorzata Gorol). A cave-in at the mine sees Alojz rescue that same colleague from certain death, but as reward for this act of selfless bravery, he is left permanently injured, and must adapt to a new life. As both he and Anna struggle with the changes, the two re-evaluate and redefine their relationship in director Łukasz Karwowski’s moving film. Followed by Q&A with director Łukasz Karwowski
Dir. Klaudiusz Chrostowski
SUN 10th (18.20) 83 mins, Poland, 2023, Digital, Subtitled
Leaving behind family, partner, and career while he comes to terms with the unexpected death of his father, Bartek (Jakub Gierszał) heads for the secluded isle of Foula, largely unchanged since its appearance in Powell and Pressburger’s 1937 The Edge Of The World (see page 9). He finds work with an eccentric local farmer, and settles into an arduous routine. After struggling with his new living conditions and habitat, and aided by a goat with whom he bonds, Bartek finds his place on Foula and comes to appreciate its staggering natural beauty, even as he considers his return to the wider world in this contemplative film built on Jakub Gierszał’s superb performance. Followed by Q&A with director Klaudiusz Chrostowski and actor Jakub Gierszał
Let us know what you’re going to see at the IFI Kinopolis 2023. Tickets are on sale now from the cinema HERE.
The IFI would like to offer sincere gratitude to Nikola Sękowska-Moroney, Cultural Affairs and Media Coordinator of the Embassy of Poland in Dublin, and to Agata Dzik of the Pomeranian Film Foundation for their invaluable assistance and support, as well as the festival partner support of Tracey Solicitors.
The IFI is supported by the Arts Council. Kinopolis is supported by the Embassy of Poland in Ireland and Tracey Solicitors.