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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » July 2, 2010
Polish Film Festival
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Top Award for Little Rose
July 2, 2010   
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A political drama entitled Różyczka (Little Rose) won the main prize of this year’s Polish Film Festival, which was held in the coastal city of Gdynia for the 35th time.

The awards ceremony took place inside a huge tent mounted on a beach May 29, drawing an audience of 1,300.

As he collected the main prize, the Golden Lions, Różyczka director Jan Kidawa-Błoński said he was happy to make movies that appeal to viewers. The day before, Różyczka won the viewers’ award, the Golden Claqueur, for the film, which got the longest applause during the festival. The judges also honored Magdalena Boczarska, who played the main character in Różyczka, with the award for Best Leading Actress.

Różyczka tells the story of a love affair and subsequent marriage between a well-known anticommunist opposition writer (played by Andrzej Seweryn, a veteran Polish actor and a member of France’s prestigious Comédie-Francaise) and a woman who turns out to be a communist security services informer. The story is inspired by the last couple of years in the life of Paweł Jasienica (1909-1970), a famous Polish historian, writer and journalist. After the demise of communism in Poland and all of Central Europe, many years since Jasienica’s death, documents from the archives of the National Remembrance Institute clearly showed that Jasienica’s last wife had worked for the security services. She informed on her husband for years until his funeral, which she duly described in a report.

Even though the filmmakers denied basing their fictional story on the life of Jasienica—and, in part, on other writers persecuted by communist security services—viewers interpreted the movie as one based on facts with only some embellishment for dramatic effect.

The main character, a young woman, has a love affair with a security officer who orders her to seduce a writer, her senior by two generations, who is involved with the democratic opposition in Poland. The woman adopts the code name “Różyczka” and provides her lover with information to compromise the writer. However, her intellectual fascination with her lover evolves into true affection, even though Różyczka realizes she is just a tool in a scheme devised by the security services.

The Silver Lions award went to Chrzest (Baptism), directed by 37-year-old Marcin Wrona. This movie is inspired by real-life events as well. One of the main characters, Michał, is a young man from the provinces with a minor criminal record. In a bid to escape the criminal underworld, he leaves his hometown and moves to Warsaw. But the mob is out to get him.

Two actors from Chrzest, Wojciech Zieliński and Tomasz Schuchardt, tied as the winners of the Best Leading Actor award at Gdynia.

The judges gave their special prize to Mała matura 1947 (School Leaving Exams 1947) directed by Janusz Majewski, a story of teenage boys graduating from a junior high school in Cracow at the time when the communists were taking over power in Poland.

The lifetime achievement Platinum Lions of the Gdynia festival were presented to 88-year-old Janusz Morgenstern, the director behind films such as Do widzenia, do jutra (Good Bye, Till Tomorrow) and Żółty szalik (The Yellow Scarf), who is best known for his now legendary TV series Kolumbowie, Stawka większa niż życie and Polskie drogi—all set during World War II.

The judges of the main competition of the 35th Polish Film Festival were Polish film directors Andrzej Barański (chairman) and Xawery Żuławski, Iceland’s Arni Oli Asgeirsson, actress Alicja Bachleda-Curu¶, screenwriter Andrzej Bart, cinematographer Jacek Petrycki, and makeup artist Waldemar Pokromski.
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