Skolimowski: Guest at Camerimage

The Plus Camerimage Film Festival in Bydgoszcz features a retrospective of films by Jerzy Skolimowski. Audiences will have the opportunity to see not only the acclaimed director’s latest films such as Cztery noce z Anną (Four Nights with Anna) and Essential Killing, but also his films from the 1960s. Awarded around the world, these minimalist films are not widely known to contemporary audiences. After Ręce do góry (Hands Up!) and its unfavourable reception and subsequent banning by the censor’s office, Skolimowski decided to stop directing.

“It was an extraordinary film for those times. Today it is probably a bit aged, because the issues of those days are now merely a page in history. But back when the film was made, that was our life,” said Skolimowski in an interview.


Essential Killing, the director’s latest feature, received the Special Jury Prize and acting award for Vincent Gallo at the Venice Film Festival. At Plus Camerimage, the film is screening in the Main Competition. In interviews and at Q&A sessions, Skolimowski stresses that he considers this to be the best film of his career. Essential Killing tells the story of an Afghan prisoner who escapes while being transported to a black site and finds himself in a hostile winter environment in a foreign country. Skolimowski portrayed his fight for survival and his existence on the brink of death in an extraordinarily suggestive manner. As Skolimowski emphasizes, a lot is owed to the work of director of photography Adam Sikora.


At the festival opening, Skolimowski received the Lifetime Achievement Award for a Polish Director. This places him in the circle of directors recognized by Plus Camerimage as filmmakers who speak to their audiences not only through their stories, but also through beautiful and forceful images.


“Thank you very much. I want to thank the festival, I want to thank everyone. I am only sorry that Adam Sikora cannot be here with me tonight,” said Skolimowski.


The 18th Plus Camerimage International Festival of the Art of Cinematography runs through December 4.


Translated by Karolina Kołtun