"The Last Family" and "Close Ties" Awarded in Vilnius

Two Polish films received top laurels in their respective competition sections at the “Kino Pavasaris” International Film Festival. Both films are co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. Jan P. Matuszyński’s Ostatnia Rodzina (The Last Family) was voted best film in the New Europe – New Names section, while Zofia Kowalewska’s Więzi (Close Ties) won the Short Film Competition. Both films are co-financed by the Polish Film Institute.

The “Kino Pavasaris” festival ran from March 23 through April 6 in Lithuania’s five major cities: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, and Panevėžys. This year the festival, supported by the Polish Institute, screened a selection of contemporary Polish cinema.

Ostatnia Rodzina (The Last Family) Wins in New Europe – New Names

The lineup of the New Europe – New Names competition features films by first- and second-time directors from Central and Eastern Europe. Selection is made based on two key criteria: an original approach to cinematic forms of expression, and striving for self-awareness. This year’s competition lineup featured a total of eleven films. In addition to Jan P. Matuszyński’s debut, competition films included Kuba Czekaj’s Królewicz Olch (The Erlprince) and Święty (The Saint), a Polish-Lithuanian co-production directed by Andrius Blazevicus. The award for Best Actor went to the star of Święty (The Saint), Marius Repšys.

„The Last Family”. Interview with the creators. Transcription (.rtf file)

Jan P. Matuszyński’s Ostatnia Rodzina (The Last Family) tells the story of the Beksiński family, beginning in 1977 when Tomek Beksiński moves out of the family home into his own flat. His parents live next door, in the same area, which is why they remain close. Tomek’s oversensitive personality results in his mother Zofia constantly worrying about him. At the same time his father Zdzisław Beksiński tries to dedicate himself to his art. After Tomek’s first suicide attempt, Zdzisław and Zofia must fight not only for their son, but also to regain control over their lives. When Zdzisław signs a contract with Piotr Dmochowski, an arts dealer based in France, and Tomek starts a job at the Polish Radio, it seems that the worst is behind them. But the series of strange and fateful events is just beginning.

The Vilnius award is the latest addition to The Last Family‘s list of international accolades. Previously the film received acclaim at the 69th Locarno IFF, the 52nd Chicago IFF, the Molodist IFF in Kiev, and the 26th Cottbus Festival of Eastern European Cinema.

Więzi (Close Ties) Wins Best Short Film

The Short FIlm Competition at “Kino Pavasaris” is open to films from Central and Eastern Europe. This year’s lineup featured a total of 32 films, including Zofia Kowalewska’s Więzi (Close Ties), Nauka by Emi Buchwald, and 16.03 by Natalia Siwicka.

The jury voted Zofia Kowalewska’s debut film Więzi (Close Ties) as Best Film. Kowalewska began working on this documentary when she was in her last year of high school. It is the story of Barbara and Zdzisław, a couple who has been married for 45 years. Eight years ago, Zdzisław left Barbara and moved in with another woman. Eventually he decided to come back to his wife, and Barbara took him in. But returning to their shared life proves to be a difficult task. Zdzisław suggests organising an anniversary celebration.

The Vilnius award marks the latest addition to the film’s list of international accolades. Kowalewska previously received acclaim at IDFA, DOK Leipzig, and ZagrebDox. The film was also short-listed for the Academy Awards.

Further details about the “Kino Pavasaris” festival are available at kinopavasaris.lt.