October 26, 2021

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Jury ruling at the 46th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.  The right thing won, but there were better films in the competition

Jury ruling at the 46th Polish Film Festival in Gdynia. The right thing won, but there were better films in the competition

“The right thing won, but not the best competition film” – that’s the opinion I heard backstage at the Gdynia event from many people, right after the jury’s verdict was announced. Golden Lions awarded Łukasz Ronduda and Łukasz Gutt for “All Our Fears”. An important and necessary movie. However, I sign with both hands that the products were more accomplished than the competition. Justina Cobos comments on the jury of the 46th session of the Gdynia 2021 Feature Film Festival.

At the ceremony at the Musical Theater in Gdynia, no one pretended that the verdict of the jury headed by director Andrei Parasky was not a surprise. It was huge. This year’s Polish Oscar nominee – “Leave No Traces” – or the great “Whistling” by Domalowski were the favorites not only for the Academy Award-winning selection committee, but also for a significant portion of the festival audience. “Hyacynt” was the longest lauded film at this year’s festival, though it’s not a “lightweight and fun” movie, like the hit “Nemro” he defeated in the reins of government.

The work of both artists, who meticulously recreate the “represented world”, is also impressive – in both cases they speak of the ’80s. Certainly, it is not the momentum of production that determines its artistic value. However, both titles are full-blown films, the kind that can emotionally “crawl” the viewer.

So what influenced the jury’s decision? It is true that All Our Fears is a sensitively produced hit movie. However, it does not have the exact weight that “whistling” and “no traces” have. The question is: Didn’t the jury with this decision hurt the creators of the aforementioned products?

Our Oscar nominee had to take home the second most important figurine – the Silver Lions and the Scene Award. The award in the “screenplay” category went to Marcin Ciastoń for “Hyacynta”. He was also honored for his makeup.

Golden Lions for “All Our Fears”PAP / Adam Warsaw

for a good reason

All Our Fears is an important and poignant movie – it’s indisputable. However, not even the “body of God” has an effect, it also touches on the theme of faith and spirituality. By the way, Jan Komasa’s film – according to the Gdynia jury – did not deserve the main prize either. In 2019, he won the statuette “Citizen Jones” Agnieszka Holland.

But let’s go back to the Ronduda movie.

The plot is inspired by the true story of Daniel Rykarski, an artist who has long been trying to create a bridge between the Polish Church and the LGBT community. The protagonist played by Dawid Ogrodnik in the film grew up in the countryside and was always involved in church life, despite the fact that, as a heterosexual, he faces homophobia. He desperately wants to reconcile his homosexuality (which is open and manifested through his own art) with Catholicism.

The verdict of the Gdynia jury in the situation of the ongoing campaign against homosexuals in our country, of course, has a special meaning. Probably no one doubts that he voted for good reason.

Justifying the decision, Parasky explained that given the high and equal level of films in the competition, the members of the jury decided to choose the film that would be “beautiful and up-to-date”. This is just an unconvincing argument. The same can be said of Matuszyński and Domalewski’s paintings, although their work takes place in the past. The film about the Grzegorz Przemyk case is even more terrifying because we remember Igor Stachowiak, who was tortured in a Wroclaw police station in 2016, or the recent death of a young Ukrainian at a local awakening center. Domalewski’s gay love story, centered around the act of “Hyacinth”, that is, the persecution of homosexuals in the People’s Republic of Poland, may also be played out today.

Therefore, it is difficult to get rid of the impression that it was the importance of the topic that might have influenced the jury’s decision. But are noble motives sufficient? Shouldn’t it only be the artistic values ​​of the competition films?

“All Our Fears” is undoubtedly a picture worthy of distinction (the script itself seems to be the film’s strongest point), but is it really a movie from the Golden Lions? In my opinion, perfect for the Special Jury Prize (it was never awarded this year).

The film was also honored with an important award for Best Cinematography, while it was separated from stunning night/winter visuals by Piotr Sobociński in “Hyacinth”. It is hard to believe that the excellent cinematographer, juror Bogdan Dziursky, did not appreciate their skill. From the screening of “Hiacynt”, Sobociński was unanimously selected for the award.

Still from “All Our Fears”Photo: Jarosław Sosiński / FPFF

Best Actor Festival Without Award

However, this is not the end of the jury’s strange decisions. They were amazed that there was no prize for the acting king at this festival – Tomasz Zeitek. This year I did not meet a person in Gdynia who, when asked about the best actor in the main male role, did not mention him. So this award seemed obvious.

The actor created two wonderful and completely different roles. In “Let there be traces,” he played Przymek’s friend and witness to the crime, showing the enormity of the pain of a man fighting for justice, aware of his own powerlessness. In “Hyacinth”, the protagonist – silent and rough – is in turn a classic character straight out of black cinema. Until he falls in love with his mentor.

“A miracle should have happened if Ziętek had not received the award this year,” we wrote in the festival report. and became. The award went to Jacek Beler for his fine role in Alexandra Terbiska’s debut feature film Other People. Despite everything, Ziętek is sorry. The film itself was also honored as Best Debut Director. aptly.

Maria Dubska with the award for the role of Kalina Gudrocic in the film “Because there is sex in me”Adam Warawa / PAP

Jurys and viewers were exceptionally unanimous in the case of the award for the lead female role. She was received by the beautiful and excellent Kalina Jędrusik Maria Dębska for her role in the production of “Because There’s Sex in Me”. The film itself, unfortunately, was not very successful.

If anyone had any doubts that Polish cinema is ruled by young people, and every year younger and younger filmmakers, the 46th edition of the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia dispels these illusions forever.

Main image source: FPFF / Jaroslaw Sosinski

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