The 72nd Venice International Film Festival closed on September 12. The list of this year’s festival award winners includes several Polish filmmakers.

11 minut (11 Minutes) Recognized by Youth Jury

Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 minut (11 Minutes) received Special Mention of the Youth Jury, selected by the director of the Vittorio Veneto Film Festival.

11 minut (11 Minutes)

The same eleven minutes in the lives of various protagonists are shown through parallel storylines. Before the last second of the eleventh minute is up, their fates are brought together by an event that will have a huge impact on their lives. The film was written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, lensed by Mikołaj Łebkowski, and features performances by Andrzej Chyra, Dawid Ogrodnik, Wojciech Mecwaldowski, Agata Buzek, Jan Nowicki, Piotr Głowacki, Richard Dormer, and Ifi Ude.

Co-Production Co-Financed by the Polish Film Institute

11 minut (11 Minutes) was made as a co-production between Poland and Ireland. The film was produced by Skopia Film, co-produced by Element Pictures, Telewizja Polska, Orange, HBO, and Fundacja Tumult, and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Eurimages, and the Irish Film Board.

Excellent Reviews

Screening in Main Competition at the 72nd Venice IFF, Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 minut (11 Minutes) enjoyed great reviews in Polish and international press alike.

“Real cinema, in the traditional sense, is the staggering thriller by 77-year-old Polish director Skolimowski, playing to the beat of rap. […] A staggering film built like a game: seemingly useless, yet dead serious,” reads the review of 11 minut (11 Minutes), written by Conchita de Gregorio for Italian daily La Repubblica.

“Well into his eighth decade, and his sixth of directing features, Polish veteran Jerzy Skolimowski shows no shortage of vigour, or appetite for challenge, in 11 Minutes, a thoroughly entertaining and quite flamboyant Polish-language multi-strander. The trick of bringing together multiple, seemingly unconnected characters in a complex, fragmented jigsaw structure has become an increasingly popular cinematic pursuit — but while films such as 21 Grams and Crash tend to highlight their philosophical we-are-all-connected thematics, Skolimowski’s essay in chance and causality is more of a virtuoso exercise,” writes Jonathan Romney in a review for Screen International.

11 Minutes is the title of the Polish film. And indeed, the title itself is a statement. Everything that happens during the hour and a half of the breathtaking thriller that this film is, happens in exactly eleven minutes. […] And so the viewers are invited to keep their eyes glued to the screen in a cinematic exercise that resembles a fever,” writes Luis Martinez in his review of 11 minut (11 Minutes) for Spanish daily El mundo.

In a review written for Gazeta Wyborcza by Polish critic Tadeusz Sobolewski, he notes that “the film tugs at various strings — from his own fears dating back to the war days, Stalin and 9/11, or the fears of the era of communism and capitalism, but also the more universal fear of the unknown. [Skolimowski’s] poignant vision of Warsaw and interaction of human situations in which we find ourselves unexpectedly, and which are a collection of minor everyday offences, creates a basis for the director of Identification Marks: None, The Barrier and Hands Up! to develop his own story. The world disintegrates into pixels. We find ourselves awaiting the finale completely at peace. If anyone asked about the message of 11 Minutes, I would say it was calmness, rather than action. This film mimics and at the same time brutally parodies action movies.”

Other reviews of 11 minut (11 Minutes) are available here.

Special Mention for Baby Bump

Baby Bump, a film directed by Kuba Czekaj, received Special Mention in the Queer Lion Awards. Baby Bump was the winning project in the third edition of the Biennale College – Cinema, a series of workshops for the development and production of low-budget film projects. The screening at the 72nd Venice IFF marked the film’s world premiere. Baby Bump was very well received by Polish and international press alike, as well as by the festival audience.

Baby Bump

Eleven-year-old Mickey House is no longer a child. He doesn’t know who he is. He has no friends. He doesn’t even understand his own mother. He hates what’s happening to his body. Reality and imagination blend together in a toxic mix. Events escalate at home and at school, everything becomes the extreme. Mickey has to find the strength within him to finish what he stareted. Where will his encounter with his own maturing body take him? Growing up is not for kids.
Baby Bump was produced by Magdalena Kamińska and Agata Szymańska (Balapolis). The film was written and directed by Kuba Czekaj, lensed by Adam Palenta, and features performances by Kacper Olszewski, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Caryl Swift, Sebastian Łach, and Weronika Wachowska.

The official website of the film is available at: babybumpthemovie.com.

Klezmer in Venice Days Competition

The Venice Days – Giornate degli Autori competition lineup of the 72nd Venice IFF included Klezmer, the feature debut by director Piotr Chrzan.

Paweł Pawlikowski in the Jury

This year’s Main Competition jury members included Alfonso Cuarón (chairman of the jury), Emmanuel Carrère, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Paweł Pawlikowski, Francesco Munzi, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Diane Kruger, Lynne Ramsay, and Elizabeth Banks.

The 72nd Venice International Film Festival ran from September 2 through September 12, 2015.

Translated by Karolina Kołtun