Kinopolis Polish Film Festival will celebrate its 13th year in Ireland by honouring the very best of Polish cinema this coming December in the Irish Film Institute (IFI). Running from December 6th to December 9th, the festival hopes to further embed itself within the cultural fabric of Dublin by showcasing the finest works Polish contemporary cinema has to offer to an Irish audience. Crucial to the festival’s continued success has been its harmonising ethos that aims at facilitating a greater cultural understanding of one of Ireland’s largest minority groups. Furthermore, the festival offers a space for Polish people living in Ireland to re-engage with the artistic zeitgeist that pervades their native film scene. Overall, it’s clear that the Polish Film Festival remains a vitally important way for the Polish community living in Ireland to reconnect with their cultural roots and to familiarise themselves with the exciting cinematic developments taking place back in Poland.
The festival will get off to an emotive, yet uplifting, start with challenging comedy A Cat With a Dog, which will be followed by a question and answer session with distinguished actor Olgierd Lukaszewicz. This particular film is remarkable in the sense that it defies categorisation with its peculiar blend of tragedy, comedy and surrealism. It charts the trials and tribulations of a pair of estranged siblings attempting to reconcile their differences and regain one another’s love and company in the wake of a life-threatening, debilitating stroke that has ravaged one of the brothers’ life. Amidst all the poignancy and patches of bleakness that this film exposes us to, there is an almost joyous, life-affirming aura to be found in some of the more tender and delicate moments of humour. It is in these moments that A Cat With a Dog invites the audience to defiantly laugh right into the face of death.
Perhaps most notably, the festival will play host to one of Poland’s leading luminaries of film in director Malgorzata Szumowska for a question and answer session following the screening of his latest contribution Mug. Mug is a grim satire on modern Polish society that tells the story of heavy-metal obsessed Jacek (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz) who, following a desperately unfortunate accident, undergoes the country’s first ever face transplant. Formerly accepted in his community despite his bad boy image, Jacek is now forced to come to terms with the possibility that his new physical malformation may cause him to lose everything.
In addition, this year’s Kinopolis will also pay tribute to a true master of Polish science fiction, the late Piotr Szulkin. By way of commemorating and hailing his artistry, a special screening of The War of The Worlds: Next Century will take place on Sunday, December 9th. More than just a standard adaptation, this film is recognised as being a far more radical visual reimagining of the classic HG Wells novel. Allegorically speaking, the film stands out due to its merciless condemnation of what Szulkin deemed Communist rule as we see that, in this version, the Martians that land on Earth are, in fact, cunningly used by the terrestrial authorities to further impose a repressive hegemony.
Kinopolis has made an indelible mark on the Irish film scene because it has risen to prominence at a time when Irish society needs it most. The Polish Film Festival must be lauded for continuing to prove that cinema is an artistic medium that brings people together from across different communities and succeeds in uniting them as one audience.