Polish/Ukrainian/Latvian Shorts

67 min, Eastern Neighbours Filmfestival

Onderdeel van: English Specials

A short film program from Poland, Ukraine and Latvia. 

Dream (Laila Pakalniņa, Latvia, 2016, 7 min.)
A shop by the side of the road. One after another, people enter and exit the small building. The randomness and illogical nature of the action feels unreal. The sense of timelessness and of being in an unnamed place further heightens the dreamlike nature of the scene. The nearly motionless black-and-white camera records a fragment of life in a place torn from the context of the world. A short documentary by talented Laila Pakalniņa, one of the best known Latvian film directors working in documentary and feature film genre. Her films have screened in official programmes at Cannes, Venice, Berlinale, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, Rome and other international festivals, where they have won numerous awards.

One, two, zero (Anna Pawluczuk, Poland, 2017, 15 min.)
Every day Justyna needs to be stronger and more determined if she wants to beat her colleagues in all competition races. She is nine year old girl who is training professionally in rhythmic gymnastics. She also takes part in competitions where she needs to show perfection in her performance and demonstrate the level of discipline that goes beyond the abilities of girls of her age. Instead of having fun, her trainings are filled with sweat and tears. If she is not able to endure, trainers suggest her to take up chess as a hobby. But she is not ready to give up. However, despite the enormous efforts she does not always manage to stand on the podium. When she loses her hopes for wining, she decides to start training five-year gymnasts by herself.

The wonderful years (Svitlana Shymko/Galina Yarmanova, Ukraine, 2018, 9 min.)
“The Wonderful Years” is a short documentary film which explores the lives of queer women in Ukraine in the late Soviet Union. It is based on the archive video materials from the Center for Urban History of Central East Europe in Lviv and interview excerpts from the research projects “Sexuality under Globalization” (2005-2006), “Being a Lesbian in Ukraine: Gaining Power” (2007), and “LGBT Families in Ukraine: Social Practices and Legislative Regulations” (2011-2012). Winner of Special Jury Diploma at the Molodist International Film Festival in Kiev for its subtle display of an unknown world.

Polonaise (Agnieszka Elbanowska, Poland, 2016, 16 min.)
On Poland’s National Independence Day, the jury consisting of the director, the mayor, a priest and a poetess chooses the winner of a competition for the region’s number one patriot. The director of the Cultural Centre in a provincial town announces a competition. Participants have to creatively present what patriotism means for them. The only requirement is that everyone must come up with their own ideas on the subject. Singing, recitation, gesture, speech, staging - all forms are allowed.  As Independence Day on November 11 approaches, the tension is raising. The jury will soon choose the best patriot in the region. Famous Polish producer Studio Munka and the director who is a graduate of well-respected Wajda documentary school, made a film that echoed so well around the world and was chosen for dozens of film festivals.

Patriotic Lesson (Filip Jacobson, 2016, 20 min.)
‘Patriotic Lesson’ tells the story of a Polish primary school singing contest, in which children perform patriotic songs, full of heroism, bravery, blood, sweat and tears. By presenting performances and the audience, tensions between parents and teachers, and finally jury deliberations, the film raises questions about what is patriotism over generations and its institutional reaffirmation in today’s Polish society. Filmed in black and white, Jacobson’s film keeps a delicate line between critical approach to the event and fascination and respect to the characters of the movie. Patriotic song contests takes place every year and have local and national range.

A charming, lucid and though-provoking film in the tradition of the best Polish documentaries. Winner of DOK Leipzig’s main prize – the Golden Dove.

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English subtitles