3 items from 2013
The international jury of the Warsaw Film Festival has awarded the City of Warsaw Grand Prix to Pawal Pawlikowski’s Ida, which won Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival on the same night.
The black-and-white film set in the 1960s, which the international jury praised for “the superb combination of script, directing, cinematography, acting and music”, also received the prize of the Ecumenical Jury in Warsaw.
Speaking to ScreenDaily after the awards ceremony, producer Ewa Puszczynska of Lodz-based Opus Film said the film will be released on 90 screens in Poland this Friday (Oct 25) by distributor Solopan Spólka.
Fandango Portobello Sales is handling international distribution, and Music Box Films are planning the North American release for the second quarter of 2014. It debuted at Toronto last month.
Puszczynska was joined on stage to receive the Grand Prix by the non-professional »
- email@example.com (Martin Blaney)
Neither tearfully sentimental nor coldly scientific, “Life Feels Good,” Maciej Pieprzyca’s film about a man with cerebral palsy struggling to communicate to those around him that he is an intelligent, sentient human being, instead proves oddly entertaining. The protagonist, diagnosed as mentally retarded since childhood, delivers interior monologues that supply ironically normal counterpoint to the contorted sounds and spastic movements he makes. Brilliantly thesped by non-disabled actors playing the character as both child and grown-up, the film captures as much wonderment as frustration, and is filled with fully fleshed-out characters that defy simple categorization. Having swept the jury, audience and ecumenical prizes at the Montreal fest, this Polish feature could generate genuine arthouse interest.
Helmer-scripter Pieprzyca places the character of Mateusz squarely at his story’s center. As a boy (Kamil Tkacz), Mateusz devises a unique method of moving around the apartment, lying on his back and flailing his arms to propel himself backward, »
- Ronnie Scheib
A gritty, gripping, intelligently made crime thriller, “Traffic Department” takes place on the mean streets of contempo Warsaw and exposes the corruption endemic to the police — and society at large. Polish helmer-scribe Wojtek Smarzowski focuses on seven police officers, members of the eponymous division who are friends as well as colleagues, and whose lives change after one of their number dies under mysterious circumstances. As much a social critique as a genre piece, the pic has already passed 1 million admissions since February in local release, and will soon roar into several prominent international fests, with announcements forthcoming.
As in Smarzowski’s earlier features, “The Wedding” (2004), “The Dark House” (2009) and “Rose” (2011), the multilayered narrative unspools in a nihilistic world where human venality and immorality are the order of the day. One can even see each of the policemen as representing one of the seven deadly sins, although the script never overplays this aspect. »
- Alissa Simon
3 items from 2013
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