Polish Film Festival 2023

Rebecca Varidel
19th Apr 2023

POLISH FILM FESTIVAL SYDNEY returns this May to Palace Norton Street and The Ritz Cinemas with a fresh line-up of entertaining comedies, gripping crime stories, captivating dramas, and a bit of romance.

Commencing Sunday 7 May, the festival will show the latest in Polish film through a selection of film productions released in the last three years representing diverse genres and creative approaches. The 2023 program brings three Australian premieres and six NSW premieres, including four impressive feature debuts SONATA, 25 YEARS OF INNOCENCE, DANGEROUS MEN and IF I WERE YOU.

Opening the festival is a touching comedy drama by Aleksander Pietrzak BLACK SHEEP. This warm family story about unbreakable bonds, touches upon many well-known topics: growing up and becoming a responsible parent, the challenges of finding yourself in a completely new life situation, choosing between career and loved ones, and most importantly, navigating through problems for the sake of your family.

“A very warm and touching comedy-drama about family ties that must be fought for at all costs and cannot be allowed to be broken. A timeless topic, and thanks to the great acting of Arkadiusz Jakubik, (…) this production will stay with us for longer” — Na Ekranie

Recent box-office hit and Audience Choice Award winner at the 38th Warsaw International Film Festival DANGEROUS MEN will premiere in Australian on Sunday 3 June as the closing film of the festival. Set in the bohemian town of Zakopane in the stunning Tatra Mountains, it is a fast-paced comedy crime story merging humour, flamboyant historical figures and vibrant Polish folklore. Featuring an outstanding cast including Tomasz Kot (Cold War, Leave no traces – PFF22), Marcin Dorociński (Mission Impossible 7, Beloved Neighbours – PFF22), Andrzej Seweryn (Man of Iron, Schindler's List, The Last Family – PFF17) as well as Australian based actor Jacek Koman (Moulin Rouge, Icarus. The Legend of Mietek Kosz – PFF20) impersonating colourful well-known characters this feature debut by Maciej Kawalski is a delightful piece of cinema to be enjoyed by all.

The selection also includes:

The winner of eight international film festivals, SONATA by Bartosz Blaschke, tells the beautiful true story of musician Grzegorz Płonka and his incredible journey to achieve the impossible. Misdiagnosed as an autistic child, on the eve of his 15th birthday he learns that the cause of his distant behaviour isn't autism but a major hearing impairment. When implanted with a cochlear hearing aid, he discovers speech, sound, and music, with which he falls in love. It turns out that underneath his disability, great musical talent has been hidden for many years.

25 YEARS OF INNOCENCE a gripping crime drama based on real events that shocked Poland and made headlines for many months. This directorial debut of accomplished Polish cinematographer Jan Holoubek, starring Agata Kulesza (Cold War, Ida, Never gonna snow again – PFF21) and Piotr Trojan (Johnny) follows the tragic story of a man who had served 18 years in prison before being found innocent in 2018.​

IF I WERE YOU an entertaining new comedy from Antonio Galdamez about a married couple on the verge of divorce presented with an unexpected chance to experience a day-in-the-life as one another.

THE TENANT, based on the story of Jolanta Brzeska, a well-known Warsaw activist fighting the re-privatization mafia, a gripping drama about an unsolved crime and a corrupt system allowing mysterious businessmen to buy tenement houses with the intention of forcing out the tenants, renovating the abandoned buildings, and selling them for profit.

POLANSKI. HOROWTIZ. HOMETOWN the winner of multiple Audience Awards, including at the recent Polish Film Festival in Perth. This is a skilfully made documentary exploring the most personal memories from childhood and youth of two world famous artists who first met as children in the Jewish ghetto established by Germans in occupied Poland. Photographer Ryszard Horowitz, one of the youngest kids rescued by Oscar Schindler, and controversial filmmaker Roman Polański, meet after several decades in their beautiful hometown of Cracow to wander around the cobbled streets and recall happy memories of childhood as well as tragic wartime experiences.

F_CKING BORNHOLM by Anna Kazejak-Dawid, winner of the Europa Cinemas Label award for Best European Film at the 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Set in the Scandinavian landscape of the island of Bornholm, it is an intimate comedy-drama portraying the generation of today's 40-year-olds from the perspective of a woman who is in need of profound changes in her life.

MARCH 1968 a universal story about student couple madly in love with each other in a country overwhelmed by a rebellion of young people against authorities. Krzyszof Lang’s new film will move the audience to the late 1960s when students took to the streets of Warsaw protesting against unlawful expulsion of their colleagues from university and the banned performance of romantic play „Dziady” staged at the National Theatre.

DETECTIVE BRUNO A heart-warming family film about 8-year-old Oskar enlisting the help of his greatest hero – an arrogant TV detective – to help him crack the clues in a mysterious treasure hunt created for his birthday by his late parents.

All films screen with English subtitles.

Tickets are now on sale and full program is available at polishfilmfestival.org/sydney/

The 2023 POLISH FILM FESTIVAL SYDNEY is organised under the honorary patronage of the Consulate General of Republic of Poland in Sydney and with the financial support of Screen NSW , Polish Film Institute and the Consulate. The event is also supported by Australia Study (Principal Sponsor), Migration Law Firm (Major Sponsor) as well as four leadership sponsors: Hicron, BusinessTax and Money House, Opal Minded and Tailored Tax Solutions. Full list of partners and sponsors is available on festival website.