New Polish Cinema in 2023

With an Academy Award Nomination for Jerzy Skolimwoski’s EO and highly anticipated films starring global names by other Polish directors like Pawel Pawlikowski’s The Island, the year 2023 is already shaping up to be a year that puts Polish films and filmmakers firmly into the spotlight on the world’s stage. At the 21st Kinoteka Polish Film Festival, we are proud to showcase Polish film and to once again bring you an exciting programme full of great new productions, as well as documentaries and curated Polish classics and a very exciting and timely retrospective of the works of Jerzy Skolimowski.

Every year we also bring you the New Polish Cinema Strand, comprising some of the finest and most thought-provoking cinema of the past year. The strand highlights the voices of both established filmmakers and debut directors across large and small budget productions, presenting a powerful snapshot of the country’s contemporary film scene. Read on to find out more about the titles we will be screening this year.

Making their way to the UK for the first time, many of the titles have already received recognition and awards at international film festivals. This year's titles reflect on the value of relationships, both personal and those found in in the wider community, starting with director and co-writer Anna Maliszewska’s Dad (Tata, 2022, UK Premiere), a free-spirited road movie which follows a father, Michal (Eryk Lubos) who heads out on the road with his daughter after the sudden death of the Ukrainian neighbour who looked after the girl during his frequent long works trips. Now on a cross-border mission to return the body home, Michał is forced to confront his parenting responsibilities while figuring out what's important in life.

Directed and co-written by award-winning filmmaker Anna Kazejak, Fucking Bornholm (2022, UK Premiere) is a biting drama which exposes the frayed edges of family dynamics through a neglected wife and mother as she experiences the psychological torment of a family vacation on an idyllic island. Starring Maciej Stuhr (Aftermath, 2012) and Agnieszka Grochowska (Strange Heaven, 2015), Fucking Bornholm was nominated for Best Film at Trieste, Krakow and Karlovy Vary International Film Festivals, and won the Europa Cinema Label Award for Best European Film at Karlovy Vary 2022.

Centered on a powerhouse performance from Agata Buzek (High Life, 2018, The Innocents, 2016) and set amid the eerie beaches and city-scapes of Poland’s Baltic coast, director Marta Minorowicz (Zud, 2016) charts the agonising tension placed on a couple as they attempt to track down their missing daughter, with the pressure mounting as the ineffectual police prepare to close the file on the case in searing psychological drama Illusion (Iluzja, 2022). The screening of Illusion will be followed by a Q&A with Marta Minorowicz.

Having already impressed at home, winning a Special Jury Award at Warsaw 2022 as well as Discovery of the Festival and Best Debut Director at Gdynia, Shreds (Strzępy, 2022) sees established documentary filmmaker Beata Dzianowska turn her keen observational eye to the story of a family patriarch struggling with the onset of Alzheimer’s and the family faced with the impossible decisions which result. Woman on the Roof (Kobieta na dachu, 2022, UK Premiere) from writer-director Anna Jadowska, also focuses its attention on an elderly protagonist, as Dorota Pomykała’s portrayal of a desperate and detached woman who attempts to rob a bank. A critique on a society which sidelines older women, Woman on the Roof offers an absorbing character study and is based on a true story. Pomykała won a Best Performance award at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival for her role.

This year's New Polish Cinema screenings will be screened in partnership with Riverside Studios, the ICA and The Prince Charles Cinema.

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