Festival: Kinopolis announces 10th festival line-up at IFI, Dec 3-6

The IFI and Kinopolis celebrate the Festival’s tenth edition, December 3rd – 6th, with one of its strongest programmes yet, displaying the wealth of talent currently working in Polish cinema, from elder statesman Jerzy Skolimowski to auteur Ma?gorzata Szumowska to first-time director Bartosz Prokopowicz. The Festival will welcome special guest Krzysztof Stroi?ski, star of thriller Anatomy of Evil, who will take part in a Q&A.

[quote title=”Ross Keane – IFI, Director “]We’re delighted to once again collaborate with Kinopolis, particularly with such a fine programme of new releases on its tenth anniversary, including the latest feature from a previous IFI guest, Jerzy Skolimowski, to open this year’s Festival.[/quote]

Opening this year’s feast of Polish film is 11 Minutes (????), an Irish co-production from director Jerzy Skolimowski (Essential Killing) about an ordinary day on and around Warsaw’s Grzybowski Square where the lives of a disparate group of people overlap over the course of 11 minutes, leading to an unexpected chain of events that will decide many of their fates.

Mainstream Polish cinema is represented by Krzystof Lukaszewicz’s Karbala. In 2004, the Polish military controlled the South Central zone of Iraq, which included the Karbala governorate and its capital, a city holy to Shi’a Muslims. A sudden uprising saw a small contingent of Polish and Bulgarian soldiers hugely outnumbered by militia forces, but ordered to hold Karbala’s City Hall, seat of the local authorities and police. This fictionalised version of the subsequent battle, the largest in which Polish troops had taken part since the Second World War, is an intelligent and unsentimental example of quality mainstream Polish cinema.

In Bartosz Prokopowicz’s Chemo, Benek (Tomasz Schuchardt), suffering from depression and entertaining thoughts of suicide, meets the vivacious Lena (Agnieszka ?ulewska), whose free-spirited embrace of life turns him around. Lena’s attitude, however, is revealed to be inspired by her cancer, for which she has decided not to undergo treatment. This resolve is pushed to the background when she unexpectedly falls pregnant. Drawn from the experience of first-time director Bartosz Prokopowicz, whose own wife was killed by the disease, Chemo is undeniably moving in its depiction of Lena’s decline, but it determinedly avoids the maudlin, instead celebrating the couple’s love.

The Festival welcomes Krzysztof Stroi?ski to the IFI for a Q&A following his latest feature, Anatomy of Evil, a gripping thriller directed by Jacek Bromski in which he plays former hitman ‘Lulek’, 65, recently released on parole and offered one last job by the very prosecutor responsible for his imprisonment. Realising the limitations imposed by age, he presents himself to Staszek (Marcin Kowalczyk), a sniper dishonourably discharged from the army, as a senior officer who may be able to get him back in uniform. Duplicity and suspicion abound as events come to unexpected conclusions.

The Animation Programme is always one of the festival’s most popular events, and this year’s begins with a trio of shorts featuring Hip-Hip and Hurra, the pink hippopotamus and purple weasel who together solve mysteries aimed at imparting knowledge of nature to children. This is followed by an episode of Mami Fatale, in which an elderly woman abandons the city for an idyllic life in the countryside, preparing delicious meals for her pets, Psin? (Doggie) and Prosi?ciem (Piglet). The final film, Jim and Screw, sees two boys whose lively imaginations lead them to adventures in which they encounter beloved characters from well-known fairy-tales.

Closing the Festival this year is Body/Cia?o by Ma?gorzata Szumowska (EllesIn the Name of . . . ) which won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear for Best Director. Body is a complex, eccentric, and thoroughly engaging rumination on how one deals with the loss of a loved one, laced with droll black humour. Coroner Janusz (Janusz Gajos), for whom death is quotidian, is unable to relate to the grief of his daughter Olga (Justyna Suwa?a) at the loss of her mother. Olga’s decline into an eating disorder leads them to therapist Anna (Maja Ostaszewska), who claims she has a message for them from beyond . . .

More information about the films and to buy tickets, visit www.ifi.ie/kinopolis or call the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477. More information about Kinopolis is available at www.kinopolis.ie.