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The 32nd Gdynia Film Review ends on Up-beat Note

The 32nd Gdynia Film Review ends on Up-beat Note as 92 Year Old Actress takes the Cake !
by Alex Deleon, Poland

The Annual Review of Polish Feature Films in Gdynia on the Baltic seashore is quite unusual in that it is both a compendium of the entire Polish feature film production for the preceding 12 months, and also a kind of local Oscar competition in which a professional jury votes on the best work of the year in the usual categories. This year there was a total of 22 films in competition, about a third directed by recognized veterans, and the rest by relative newcomers. The 32nd edition closed shop on Saturday, September 22, and the jury under the leadership of director Lech Majewski voted unanimously to award the best film prize to "Stuczki" (tricks) the second feature of director Andrzej Jakimowski. The film was awarded the best cinematography prize as well for the camera work of Adam Bajerski. The main protagonist of the film is a young boy who takes charge of his own life and brings a strayward father back to the family fold.

The most interesting award, however, was the 'Best Actress' prize which went to Ewa Dalkowska (born 1915), now a nice ripe ninety-two years of age! Ewa appeared in the first post-war Polish film, "Forbidden Songs" all the way back in 1947 and has been in close to a hundred films since then. The award was for her performance in "Time to die" ('Pora umierac', directed by Dorota Kedzierzawska) which everyone here seems to agree was the role of a lifetime for this distinguished actress. It was only two years ago that another senior Polish thespian, 89 year old actress Krystyna Feldman, was also named best actress here for her astounding portrayal of an illiterate Male artist in the title role of the film "Nikofor". Ms. Feldman has since passed away but her film "Nikofor" was a festival favorite all through 2005-6.

The best director award went to Tomasz Wiszniewski for a popular film entitled "Wszystko bedzie dobrze" ('Everything's going to be all right') and Robert Wieckiewicz (39) walked off with the best actor award for his leading role in the same film. Lukasz Palkowski was named best new director for his debut film, "Rezerwat", a popular comedy set in a crummy Polish slum. The female lead in this film, Sonia Bohosdiewicz, was named best supporting actress. Veteran actor-director-writer Jerzy Stuhr, who, at sixty, has now become something of a 'Monstre Sacre' in the Polish film world, received the Best Screenplay award for his film "Korowod", ("Pageant"). Pawel Witecki got the Best Editing prize for his work on "Rezerwat" making it three awards for that film. Finally, a film entitled "Jutro idziemy do kina" (We're going to the movies tomorrow) picked up both Best Costumes -- by Magdalena Biedrzycka --and Best Sets -- by Magdalena Dipont.
Mme. Dipont is a highly respected set designer and the wife of legendary director Jerzy Kawalerowicz. She was also reponsible for the sets and art design of Wajda's "Katyn".

In other Polish film news, Macei Karpinski, a man who wears many hats around here, producer, director, scenarist, and board member of several Polish film organizations, confided to me at the opening party in Gdynia that his long aniticipated film on "Madame Curie" is just about set to go into production. Unlike the Hollywood hagiography of the forties in which a pristine pure Greer Garson played Marie Curie to Walter Pigeon's Henri Bequerel, this version will deal with the tempestuous love life of the great Polish scientist -- and believe me, she had one! He will need, however, two different actresses to portray the younger and older versions of the Nobel prize winning scientist, and is presently in the process of casting around. (Greer Garson, incidentally, won the Best Actress Oscar of 1943 for her portrayal of Marie Curie).
Janusz Zaorski, who celebrated his sixtieth birthday the same night says that he is preparing a film on the Poles exiled to Siberia during WW II which will be "on an even bigger scale" than Wajda's new "Katyn", so these are two big ones to watch for in 2008.

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