From among hundreds of titles, which came to Krakow from all over the world, the selectors, under the leadership of Krzysztof Gierat, the director of the Festival, selected the best films which will compete for the Golden Horn statuette in the international documentary film competition at the 57th Krakow Film Festival. Among them, there are three Polish productions.


“I am impressed by the multi-national character of the productions, the films are made by film crews consisting of people speaking various languages and with the support of many countries. It is already a rule. Documentary film is – in the good sense of this world – cosmopolitan. A good example is the most important film in the life of Tiana Alexandra Silliphant,“The General and Me” made for 30 years in Vietnam and the United States, and finished in Krakow with a significant participation of Polish image and sound editors,” commented Krzysztof Gierat, the director of Krakow Film Festival.


“The General and Me”


The opening film is the motion picture “The Beksinskis” (dir. Marcin Borchardt). It is a feature-length documentary film, made out of sound, film and photography archival materials, most of them come from the private archive of Zdzisław Beksiński and have not been shown publicly before. Almost fifty years long, the painter meticulously documented his life and the life of his closest family. From these materials emerges an extremely complex image of the relationships between the artist and his wife Zofia and his son– the charismatic radio journalist and translator– Tomasz.

Intricate family relationships are also the subjects of films by several other authors, who turned the cameras on in their own homes. The films “Adriana’s Pact”, (dir. Lisette Orozco), “95 and 6 to Go” (dir. Kimi Takesue), Rodnye. Close Relations” (dir. Vitaly Mansky), “Plasticine Family” (dir. Moriya Benavot) are intimate images, showing often complicated and difficult family relationships, but also the attempts to find your own identity. A particular example of a home movie is “Dum spiro spero” by the recognised Croatian writer Pero Kvesić, who, while documenting the everyday life of his family, contemplates life and death – deeply, but not without sense of humour.


“95 and 6 to Go”


A perfect field of observation for documentary film-makers has always included the school and the pub, where both good and bad emotions are most fully revealed: towards peers who are a bit different from everyone else and towards strangers who often seem to create an imaginary threat to the stable reality. In such places, wise teachers and open-minded hosts can play an important role: “School Life” (dir. Neasa Ni Chianain, David Rane), “Off The Tracks” (dir. Dieter Schumann).


In the competition section, there is no lack of fascinating portraits of charismatic protagonists. “The Rebel Surgeon”, the latest documentary film by Erik Gandini – the author of the famous “The Swedish Theory of Love,” is a story about a surgeon who abandons the comfortable, but too bureaucratic life of a Swedish doctor and goes to Ethiopia to practise his profession. In the film filled with stunning photography, “The Woman and the Glacier” (dir. Audrius Stonys) we get acquainted with an amazing story about a woman scientist who sacrifices 30 years of her life, living in solitude in a measuring station, 3500 metres above sea level. The protagonist of the film “One Ticket Please” (dir. Matiss Kaza) is probably the greatest theatre fan in the world, who spends every day in one of the theatres in New York City.


“The Rebel Surgeon”


Three films, although totally different, are united by the motif of a journey, understood also in the metaphorical context. “The Miracle of Saint Lazarus” (dir. Nicolas Muñoz) is a documentary film illustrating the struggle, full of multi-cultural meanings, of the pilgrims on their way to the place of worship of Saint Lazarus in Cuba. The Hungarian-Greek film “Ultra” (dir. Balázs Simonyi) depicts the arduous toils of the participants of one of the most prestigious and demanding ultra-marathons in the world. In turn, “Almost There” (dir. Jacqueline Zünd) is a story of three men in the autumn of life, who decide to change their lives and set off on a journey in search of happiness and meaning.



“Opera about Poland”


In the international competition, two Polish productions will participate. “Opera about Poland” is the latest documentary film by Piotr Stasik, a very personal story about contemporary Poland and its inhabitants, combining two genres: documentary film and opera. The plot of the film revolves around the music, written specially by Artur Zagajewski, which is illustrated by documentary images, fragments of radio broadcasts, poetry, prose and even classified advertisements from local newspapers. In turn, the film “Desert Coffee” (dir. Mikael Lypinski) is set in “the last bastion of freedom” in the USA, where in the Sonoran desert in California, Rob runs a peculiar cafe for rebel inhabitants of an anarchist city in the wilderness.


57th Krakow Film Festival is held from May 28 to June 4, 2017.
A detailed programme will be published in the first days of May.


Films participating in the International Documentary Film Competition:


“95 and 6 to go”, dir. Kimi Takesue, USA, 85’

“The Beksinskis”, dir. Marcin Borchardt, Poland, 80’,

“Rodnye. Close Relations”, dir. Vitaly Mansky, Latvia, Germany, Estonia, Ukraine, 112’

“The Rebel Surgeon”, dir. Erik Gandini, Sweden, 52’,

“Saint Lazarus’s Miracle”, dir. Nicolas Muñoz, Spain, 57’

“Desert coffee”, dir. Mikael Lypinski, Poland, 53’

“Dum Spiro Spero”, dir. Pero Kvesić, Croatia, 52’,

“The General and Me”, dir. Tiana Alexandra Silliphant, USA, Vietnam, Poland 97’

“The Woman and the Glacier”, dir. Audrius Stonys, Lithuania, Estonia, 57’,

“Opera about Poland”, dir. Piotr Stasik, Poland, 60’

“Adriana’s Pact”, dir. Lissette Orozco, Chile, 96’

“Almost There”, dir. Jacqueline Zünd, Switzerland, 80’,

“Off The Tracks”, dir. Dieter Schumann, Germany, 85’,

“Plasticine Family”, dir. Moriya Benavot, Israel, 56’

“School Life”, dir. David Rane, Neasa Ní Chianáin, Ireland, Spain, 100’

“One Ticket Please”, dir. Matiss Kaza, Latvia, USA, 52’, 

“Ultra”, dir. Balázs Simonyi, Hungary, Greece, 81’,