Kinopolis celebrates Poland’s fecund film culture

This year's festival features Agnieszka Holland’s ‘Spoor’, Maria Sadowska’s ‘The Art of Loving’, and Krzysztof Krauze and Joanna Kos-Krauze’s 'Birds Are Singing in Kigali'

Agnieszka Mandat in Agnieszka Holland’s 'Spoor'

Agnieszka Mandat in Agnieszka Holland’s 'Spoor'

 

Poland has long had one of the most fecund film cultures in Europe and, as the numbers of Polish-Irish increase, there is ever more reason to celebrate the Kinopolis Polish Film Festival.

This year’s event kicks off on December 7th at the Irish Film Institute with a new feature from the legendary Agnieszka Holland. The director of Europa Europa and In Darkness returns with a challenging drama titled Spoor. Selected as the Polish entry for best foreign language picture at the upcoming Academy Awards, winner of the Alfred Bauer Prize at Berlin, Spoor concerns an animal rights advocate in an unaccommodating rural area who becomes caught up in a series of murders.

Spoor is not a parable as such,” Holland says. “The film is partially a fairytale, part realistic drama, part moral thriller, in part a dark comedy, and partly also a feministic-anarchistic story. You cannot grasp it entirely, and that’s the reason why I made it. I’ve seen different reactions to Spoor: some people laugh out loud, while others sit silently, as they would at a funeral.”

Eliane Umuhire in Birds Are Singing in Kigali
Eliane Umuhire in 'Birds Are Singing in Kigali'

The festival brings six films to the IFI, and four of those are by women. A hit at the recent Karlovy Vary festival, Krzysztof Krauze and Joanna Kos-Krauze’s Birds Are Singing in Kigali stands as an impressive study of genocide and a tribute to the film-makers’ own determination. Concerning a Polish ornithologist’s experiences during the Rwandan atrocities, the film was threatened when Krzysztof Krauze died during filming. Joanna, his wife and frequent collaborator, completed the production.

Urszula Antoniak will be known to Irish film fans for her work with Stephen Rea on the eccentric Connemara-based drama Nothing Personal. Beyond Words, her latest picture, stars Jakub Gierszal as a Polish lawyer who, working in Berlin, is forced to engage with his roots when his father turns up unexpectedly. The issues raised about national identity are as vital now as they have ever been.

Also keep an eye open for Maria Sadowska’s The Art of Loving, which makes a study of the gynaecologist and sexologist Michalina Wislocka. Magdalena Boczarska plays the pioneer in a lively film that touches on still-controversial attitudes and innovations. The Art of Loving was a massive hit when it opened in Poland earlier this year.

Kinopolis will also be presenting an animation programme and will be screening new features from Robert Glinski and Bodo Kox. Multi-film passes are available.

Kinopolis, the 12th Polish Film Festival, runs at the IFI from December 7th-12th  

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