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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » April 7, 2010
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Polish Documentary in Hollywood
April 7, 2010   
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While Polish Oscar-nominated short film Rabbit a la Berlin did not win the Academy Award for best documentary, short subjects, the very nomination for the award is an unquestionable success for the filmmakers.
Rabbit a la Berlin tells the story of the thousands of wild rabbits that for 28 years inhabited the Death Zone, a vacant strip of green land between the two rings of the Berlin Wall. The rabbits lived in an artificial and isolated world without any natural enemies and problems, but they were not entirely free. After the Berlin Wall fell, the animals were forced to adapt to a new life in the parks of the German capital.
Through the story of the rabbits, the filmmakers explore a metaphor of people who were shaped by the communist system. "We want to tell a story about freedom and security and about how difficult it is to keep the two in balance," the filmmakers wrote on the documentary's website. "When we embrace security, we begin to run out of freedom. When we win freedom, we start complaining about too little security."
Rabbit a la Berlin is the work of four people, director Bartek Konopka, cinematographer and co-writer Piotr Rosołowski, producer Anna Wydra, and editor Mateusz Romaszkan. The documentary, which uses archival footage and animated sequences, is a Polish-German co-production.
Rabbit a la Berlin earlier won several awards, including the Best Mid-Length Documentary Award at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto; the Golden Hobby-Horse Grand Prix and Best Producer award at the 49th Cracow Film Festival; the Best Film, Conflict & Resolution award at the Hamptons International Film Festival in the United States; and the Silver Eye Award for the Best Mid-Length Film at the International Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava in the Czech Republic.
Only three other Polish documentaries have been nominated for the Academy Award in the past and they were The White Eagle (1942) by Eugeniusz Cękalski, 89 mm from Europe (1994) by Marcel Łoziński, and The Children of Leningradsky (2004) by Hanna Polak and Andrzej Celiński.
W. Ż.
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