Films to listen to. The sound of music in winter

A review of the most interesting and diverse music documentaries from Krakow Film Festival’s cult film competition DocFilmMusic is launching on the PLAY KRAKÓW platform. The program includes a musical journey through the furthest corners of the globe and a gallery of fascinating figures in the world of sound.

We’ve prepared a unique selection of film gems that have won the hearts of our audience! – explains Krzysztof Gierat, director of the Krakow Film Festival. As part of the ‘Sounds of Music in Winter’ series, we will immerse ourselves in the works of the ephemeral Aurora from Norway, take a closer look at a men’s choir that is about much more than just singing, meet the founders of the world’s only band of Holocaust survivors, drift off into the unique world of Oscar winner Ryuichi Sakamoto, and – for desserts – enter the art of the unmatched Mikołaj Trzaska.”

From the land of the fjords we will hear Aurora. Sometimes called Scandinavia’s newest dark pop prodigy, she is one of the most charismatic singers of the young generation. Aurora Aksnes opens the door to her magical world in the film Once Aurora. It’s a portrait of an artist who tries to save her independent spirit and her childlike sensitivity. Some are saying that Aurora is going to visit Poland with a series of concerts in the first days of March.

The heroes of the next film also come from the far north. In 2016, an amateur choir of 25 middle-aged men was to perform before a Black Sabbath concert in Norway. They once jokingly promised each other that if one of them died, the others would sing at his funeral. The Men’s Room tells of a shared passion, about a rough male friendship, and being together in the most difficult moments.

Life begins once you hit ninety – one could think when looking at the heroes of Saul & Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band today. Both survivors of the Holocaust, they live in the USA and formed a Klezmer band a few years ago. It was Saul and Ruby’s dream to someday play in Poland – their country of origin and place of their greatest trauma. Despite various adversities, they finally manage to do just that. With their vigorous stories and music, they remind us of what happened in our part of Europe.

Film music fans need not be introduced to the titular character of the documentary Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda. He won an Oscar and many other awards, composed music for Bertolucci’s films, and recently for The Revenant. This time Sakamoto also appears as a musical experimenter, an activist fighting environmental degradation, and a man struggling with a serious illness. He searches for new sounds in nature – at the North Pole and in the contaminated zone around Fukushima, but also in Africa. A story about the roots of music turns into a cinematic meditation, about man’s struggle with his limitations. The film was awarded the Golden Horn at Krakow Film Festival’s DocFilmMusic competition.

An artist as original and open as Mikołaj Trzaska deserves a very unconventional portrait. That’s why the filmmakers behind The Internal Ear are looking for a language that would capture the genius of jazz improvisation and, at the same time, the musical philosophy of one of the most outstanding Polish clarinettists and saxophonists, who plays with the greatest jazz celebrities. The film examines the inner workings of Trzaska’s mind, in particular his inspirations and creative friendships, including with the writer Andrzej Stasiuk.

Viewers who can’t wait for the next edition of the Krakow Film Festival, which begins on 29 May 2022, will get to return to their favourite titles or catch up on any films they might have missed.

All films will be available to registered users at the playkrakow.com platform for PLN 9. The review will last until the end of January 2022.

PLAY KRAKÓW launched in September 2020, becoming the first municipal VOD service in Poland. The platform, commissioned by the City of Krakow, is run by the Krakow Festival Office. There you can find recordings of theatre and opera performances, films, concerts, interviews with interesting people from the world of literature or business.

Krakow Film Festival is included on the prestigious list of film events qualifying for the Academy Awards in the short film competition (fiction film, animated film, documentary film) and feature-length documentary film competition, as well as recommending films for the European Film Awards in the same categories, and qualifying short fiction films for BAFTA awards.