The lineup of this year’s edition of the Locarno International Film Festival’s prestigious Critics’ Week (Semaine de la Critique) section features three films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute: Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna) by Karolina Bielawska, K2. Dotknąć nieba (K2. Touching the Sky) by Eliza Kubarska, and Bracia (Brothers) by Wojciech Staroń. The 68th Locarno IFF runs from August 5 through August 15.

At last year’s edition of the Locarno festival, 15 stron świata (15 Corners of the World) was voted best film in the Critics’ Week section. This year, three Polish films are competing for top laurels in this section.

The Main Competition lineup of this year’s Locarno IFF features Cosmos, the new film by Andrzej Żuławski, based on a novel by Witold Gombrowicz. Cosmos was made as a co-production between France and Portugal, and produced by Alfama Films.

Bracia (Brothers) by Wojciech Staroń

“It is the story of two brothers who, at the age of over 70, moved from Kazakhstan to Poland. They had spent their whole lives together – first, when they were sent to the Gulag camps, then in Soviet Kazakhstan, and now in Poland,” said producer Małgorzata Staroń at the Docs to Go! presentation in Krakow in 2013. Wojciech Staroń added: “This is a film about picking yourself up and starting fresh. But also about finishing; our protagonists are now 90 years old, and what we’re doing is observing what they do, what sets them apart, and what they have in common. That’s what fascinates us. These two brothers are like two halves of a single human being. I discover qualities of each of them in myself.”

Bracia (Brothers) was produced by Staroń-Film and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Telewizja Polska and the Warsaw Mazovia Film Fund. Director Wojciech Staroń is one of Poland’s most acclaimed filmmakers — documentary filmmaker and cinematographer (winner of the Silver Bear award in Berlin). His previous film Argentyńska lekcja (Argentinian Lesson) received over 20 awards around the world.

Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna) by Karolina Bielawska

The lineup of Locarno Critics’ Week also features Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna), the winner of the Golden Horn Award and three other awards (Audience Award, Best Producer Award, Maciej Szumowski Award) at the 55th Krakow Film Festival. The Krakow festival jury called Karolina Bielawska’s film “a sensitive, intense and complex portrayal of a brave approach to life and the steps to a new life in harmony [with] one’s real identity. It was encouraging to see this story being told at this time.” The documentary Mów mi Marianna (Call Me Marianna) was produced by Studio Filmowe Kalejdoskop, co-produced by Telewizja Polska, and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

K2. Dotknąć nieba (K2. Touching the Sky) by Eliza Kubarska

K2. Dotknąć nieba (K2. Touching the Sky) is an international co-production between Braidmade Films, Vertical Vision Film Studio, Inselfilm Produktion, HBO Europe and Wajda Studio, and was also co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

The year 1986 in the world of mountain climbing was dubbed ‘the black summer.’ Tadeusz Piotrowski, Dobrosława Miodowicz-Wolf and Julie Tullis, three internationally acclaimed mountain climbers, died in an expedition to K2, the world’s second highest peak. Almost thirty years later, their children — Hania Piotrowska, Łukasz Wolf, Lindsay Tullis and Chris Tullis travel to K2 to try to understand what was it about this mountain that fascinated their parents so much. Eliza Kubarska, director and narrator of the film, is also an experienced mountain climber. The story of her protagonists leads the director of K2. Dotknąć nieba (K2. Touching the Sky) to addressing a number of difficult and extremely personal questions herself.

Further details about the Critics’ Week section of the upcoming 68th Locarno IFF are available at: www.semainedelacritique.ch/program.html.

Marta Sikorska

Translated by Karolina Kołtun