Paweł Pawlikowski has won the Best Director Award at the 71st International Film Festival in Cannes. The film for which he won the award – “Cold War” – was co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. In addition, the Best Performance by an Actress Award was given to Samal Yeslyamova for her performance in the movie “Ayka”, an international co-production which was also co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

Paweł Pawlikowski dedicated his award to Janusz Głowacki

Upon receiving the award in Cannes, Paweł Pawlikowski dedicated it to the memory of Janusz Głowacki. “I would like to dedicate this award to Janusz Głowacki, the great Polish dramatist who passed away last summer,” said Pawlikowski. The director of “Cold War” added that Głowacki’s works allowed him to find those things that he loves most about Poland: the sense of humour, openness to the rest of the world, gentleness and courage. “We must fight for these things and make sure we don’t lose them, so that the spirit of Janusz Głowacki lives on,” the director underlined. The filmmaker also thanked his actors, as well as cinematographer Łukasz Żal and producers Ewa Puszczyńska and Tanya Seghatchian.

The director commented that it had been a long time since a Polish film had been included in the official selection at Cannes and he was very grateful to be selected now. “I can see the actors here who I tortured, who really suffered on the set,” Paweł Pawlikowski said when receiving his award.

After the awards ceremony, there was a closing press conference with the winners, where Paweł Pawlikowski told journalists how he works on his films. “When I am on the set, I change a lot of things, working with my DoP, who is my creative other half (…). My cinema tells more through its use of images than the dialogue” – he said when talking about the excellent reception of “Cold War” among festival audiences. “Many films are made for festivals. This film is most certainly not (…). In this film, I show the history of our country through the people and their emotions (…). I hope that my film will open up a path to further work for many other Polish filmmakers,” he added.

This is the first Polish production in 28 years to feature in the Main Competition of one of the most important film events from around the world. “Cold War” tells the story of the great and difficult love of two people who cannot be together but also cannot be apart. The lead roles are played by Tomasz Kot and Joanna Kulig, with supporting performances from Agata Kulesza and Borys Szyc. The events depicted in “Cold War” take place in Poland and the slowly re-awakening Europe of the 1950s and 1960s, and they are set against a unique soundtrack which combines Polish folk music with jazz and songs from the Parisian bars of the last century.

Paweł Pawlikowski is not only the director of the film but also – along with Janusz Głowacki – co-writer of the screenplay. Katarzyna Sobańska and Marcel Sławiński were responsible for production design, and the director of photography was Łukasz Żal. Shooting began in January 2017 and was completed at the beginning of August 2017. The movie was shot in Poland, France and Croatia.

A film co-financed by the Polish Film Institute

“Cold War” is a Polish-French-British co-production. The Polish producer of the film is Ewa Puszczyńska, from Opus Film, while the British producer is Apocalypso Pictures, and the French producer is MK Productions. The film was co-financed by PISF – Polish Film Institute, Film4, British Film Institute, CNC, ARTE France, Canal+ Poland and the Eurimages fund. The co-producers of the picture include the Mazovia Warsaw Film Commission, Łódź Film Commission, Silesian Film Fund and Podkarpackie Film Commission. MK2 Films and Protagonist Pictures are responsible for international sales and Kino Świat is the Polish distributor.

Best Actress Award for Samal Yeslyamova

The award for Best Performance by an Actress at the 71st Cannes IFF went to Samal Yeslyamova for her performance in the movie “Ayka” by Sergei Dvortsevoy, an international co-production co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. “Ayka” is a co-production of five countries, with the lead producer being Kinodvor, the Russian company set up by Sergei Dvortsevoy. The Polish producers are Anna Wydra from Otter Films, and the German producers are Thanassis Karathanos and Martin Hampel from Pallas Film. The other co-producers are Eurasia Film Production (Kazakhstan), JuBen Pictures (China) and KNM (Monaco).

The film’s DoP was Jolanta Dylewska, with make-up design by Tomasz Matraszek. The Polish company Coloroffon Film was responsible for image postproduction, while sound postproduction on the Polish side was handled by Joanna Napieralska.

The film received co-financing from the Polish Film Institute, MDM, Eurimages and the Russian Ministry of Culture.

More information about the films awarded at the 71st IFF in Cannes:

Marta Sikorska

Translated by Paweł Włochacz