Top 30 Polish Documentaries

by kinoholik | created - 06 Feb 2011 | updated - 12 Nov 2015 | Public
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1. Gadajace glowy (1980)

16 min | Documentary, Short

People of different age, profession and social status answer two simple questions: who they are and what they want from life.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Votes: 2,088

2. Wszystko moze sie przytrafic (1995)

39 min | Documentary, Short

An energetic six-year-old boy talks to elderly strangers relaxing in the park. He confronts his childish knowledge of the world with their life-long experience.

Director: Marcel Lozinski | Star: Tomasz Lozinski

Votes: 285

3. Defilada (1989)

60 min | Documentary

North Korea, late 1980s. The communist authorities hold enormous parades celebrating the 40th anniversary of Democratic People's Republic of Korea and worshipping its leader, Kim Ir Sen. ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Fidyk

Votes: 205

4. Miejsce urodzenia (1992)

47 min | Documentary

After almost 50 years, Holocaust survivor Henryk Grynberg visits the village he grew up in. He was also hiding there during the Nazi occupation. Grynberg wants to know what happened to his father and younger brother during the war.

Director: Pawel Lozinski | Star: Henryk Grynberg

Votes: 113

5. Królik po berlinsku (2009)

Not Rated | 51 min | Documentary, History, News

The untold story about wild rabbits which lived between the Berlin Walls.

Director: Bartosz Konopka

Votes: 665

6. Z punktu widzenia nocnego portiera (1979)

17 min | Documentary, Short

A factory night watchman, who is a fanatic of total control, shares his opinions on various topics.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski | Star: Marian Osuch

Votes: 654

7. Elementarz (1976)

8 min | Documentary, Short

From the alphabet to the patriotic children's poem, an allegorical vision of social consciousness of 1970s Poland unravels and haunts us with a crowd of sad people in depressing surroundings.

Director: Wojciech Wiszniewski

Votes: 98

8. Uslyszcie mój krzyk (1991)

46 min | Documentary

The story of an ordinary accountant, Ryszard Siwiec, who set himself on fire during the large harvest festival at the Warsaw stadium in 1968. He did it to protest against the military invasion in Czechoslovakia.

Director: Maciej J. Drygas | Stars: Ryszard Siwiec, Maria Siwiec, Innocenta Siwiec, Elzbieta Siwiec

Votes: 116

9. To jest jajko (1966)

13 min | Documentary, Short

The lesson commences at the school for blind children. Today the pupils will study an egg to learn its shape through touching and smelling it.

Director: Andrzej Brzozowski

Votes: 13

10. Wanda Gosciminska - wlókniarka (1975)

21 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

Textile worker Wanda Gosciminska was a 1950s communist propaganda icon and role model for other workers. The system exploited her, just like so many other individuals, and turned her into a tool of ideological manipulation.

Director: Wojciech Wiszniewski | Star: Wanda Gosciminska

Votes: 42

11. Korkociag (1971)

10 min | Documentary, Short

The final stages of alcohol addiction are juxtaposed with the official attitude of Polish authorities towards the success of the ever-growing national alcohol industry.

Director: Marek Piwowski

Votes: 78

12. Moje miejsce (1987)

15 min | Documentary, Short

At the famous Grand Hotel in Sopot, each worker - whether a porter, a maid, a cook or a stoker - feels an important part of their workplace. Perhaps even the most important.

Director: Marcel Lozinski

Votes: 28

13. Takiego pieknego syna urodzilam (2000)

25 min | Documentary, Short

A bold uncompromising look at the hell of the director's real-life family life. He still shares the apartment with his dysfunctional parents who use verbal violence towards him on a daily basis.

Director: Marcin Koszalka

Votes: 162

14. Arizona (1998)

46 min | Documentary

Arizona is a brand of cheap wine which happens to be the only escape and consolation for the unemployed and depraved former workers of PGR (State Farming Cooperative) that now stands in ruins.

Director: Ewa Borzecka

Votes: 54

15. Pamiatka z Kalwarii (1958)

14 min | Short, Documentary

Mass Catholic pilgrimage to the Kalwaria Zebrzydowska Sanctuary where amateur actors perform the Passion of the Christ.

Directors: Jerzy Hoffman, Edward Skórzewski

Votes: 13

16. Po-lin. Okruchy pamieci (2008)

82 min | Documentary

"Po-lin" is a story of a world long gone. Of place and time when two cultures, Polish and Jewish intertwined and coexisted. The documentary shows a collection of unique, black and white ... See full summary »

Director: Jolanta Dylewska | Stars: Jan Borysiak, Michal Darocha, Józefa Dabrowska, Leonard Debkowski

Votes: 53

17. Szczurolap (1986)

20 min | Documentary, Short

The only professional rat exterminator in Poland, who works on an industrial scale, presents his unorthodox methods of destroying the intelligent enemies.

Director: Andrzej Czarnecki

Votes: 103

18. Warszawa 1956 (1956)

7 min | Documentary, Short

Over a decade after the almost total wartime destruction, Warsaw still looks bruised and battered. Ruined houses are nevertheless inhabited which can be dangerous for the local population.

Directors: Jerzy Bossak, Jaroslaw Brzozowski | Star: Andrzej Lapicki

Votes: 139

19. Dworzec Gdanski (2007 TV Movie)

56 min | Documentary

Polish Jews, who were forced to leave their country in 1968, meet every year in Ashkelon. After nearly 40 years, they share their memories of exile, loss and regret, and still consider themselves Polish.

Director: Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz | Stars: Teresa Toranska, Eva Rozenbaum, Freda Uziyel, Anna de Tusch

Votes: 18

20. Portret w kropli (1997)

22 min | Documentary, Short

A contemplative look at the 1990s Poland seen through the eyes of ordinary Varsovians.

Director: Kazimierz Karabasz

Votes: 20

21. Muchotluk (1967)

12 min | Documentary, Short

Polish society is represented here by the customers of a dingy bar who drink, flirt and chat about things both extremely vital and completely trivial.

Director: Marek Piwowski

Votes: 30

22. Archeologia (1968)

14 min | Documentary, Short

Archeologists excavate numerous items on the site of the crematorium at former Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. These objects help us remember and understand what happened there.

Director: Andrzej Brzozowski

Votes: 50

23. Nienormalni (1990)

78 min | Documentary

A new music teacher comes to the institution for mentally disabled children. He's got a month to teach them to play some instruments. But it takes much more than time to understand and accept these children. And vice versa.

Director: Jacek Blawut | Stars: Tomasz Gniatkowski, Henryk Lange, Janusz Machaj, Katarzyna Zaboklicka

Votes: 34

24. Narodziny statku (1961)

9 min | Documentary, Short

The last assembly works at the Gdansk Shipyard are followed by the ceremonial launching of a new ship.

Director: Jan Lomnicki

Votes: 9

25. Kazdy wie kto za kim stoi (1983)

6 min | Documentary, Short

The 1980s Poland was a country of empty stores and long lines of people, standing all night and day to buy virtually anything. This film takes a look at such a gigantic queue and recreates its surreal dialogues and atmosphere.

Director: Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz

Votes: 15

26. Lubelska Starówka (1956)

5 min | Documentary, Short

The tenement houses at the Old Town of Lublin have two contradictory faces: beautiful facades for the eyes of the tourists and hidden derelict courtyards and apartments for the inhabitants.

Director: Bohdan Kosinski

Votes: 9

27. Ojciec i syn (2013)

54 min | Documentary

Two acclaimed documentary film-makers - father and son - drive from Poland to Paris to see the place where the ashes of the father's mother are buried. What accompanies them on the way are resentments, quarrels and sincere confessions.

Director: Pawel Lozinski | Stars: Marcel Lozinski, Pawel Lozinski

Votes: 31

28. Himilsbach. Prawdy, bujdy, czarne dziury (2002)

53 min | Documentary

The story of Jan Himilsbach, the iconic Polish character actor and talented writer, who was originally a stoker, a sailor and a mason. The movie traces the numerous ups and downs in his exceptional life.

Directors: Malgorzata Lupina, Stanislaw Manturzewski | Star: Jan Himilsbach

Votes: 15

29. Zeby nie bolalo (1998)

47 min | Documentary

After 23 years, the film crew visits the same woman, Urszula Flis, who lives a reclusive life of a countryside intellectual in a remote village. Much has changed all around her but has she really changed herself?

Director: Marcel Lozinski | Stars: Urszula Flis, Erazm Ciolek, Agnieszka Kublik, Marta Wesolowska

Votes: 36

30. Powódz (1947)

13 min | Documentary, Short

Without any commentary, we can witness the severe flooding that struck Poland in the spring of 1947.

Directors: Jerzy Bossak, Waclaw Kazmierczak

Votes: 31

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