“THE HAMLET SYNDROME” WINS GRAND PRIX, “THE FLEDGELINGS” AWARDED. POLISH DOCUMENTARIES APPLAUDED IN LOCARNO
Once again, Polish documentary films have triumphed at the famous and extremely prestigious festival in Locarno. Both productions were presented during the Critics' Week.
Locarno Film Festival is one of the oldest film festivals in the world, alongside Cannes, Venice, and Karlovy Vary. Every year, it is attended by celebrities, industry representatives, and journalists from all over the world. It's one of the most important events on the festival map of the world.
La Semaine de la Critique (Critics' Week) is an independent section of the festival co-organised since 1990 with the Swiss Association of Film Journalists. Only seven films were shown in the competition, including two Polish ones – and both left the festival with awards.
The film by Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski won the Grand Prix, the SRG SSR award, and the Boccalino d’Oro award awarded by the Swiss Independent Critics, while Lidia Duda's documentary won the Marco Zucchi Award during the Critics' Week.
The winning The Hamlet Syndrome does more than just reference Shakespeare in its title. “To be or not to be” – during a war these words take on a variety of new shades. Several months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a group of young people are working on a performance where Shakespeare speaks the language of their own doubts, fears, and dreams. Behind this are various experiences of the “Maidan generation”. Some are working through their traumas after returning from the war in Donbas, others face questions about what the Ukrainian fight is really about and how their country should change. For a moment, life, theatre, and cinema become one and we are witnessing an emotional psychodrama.
The imaginative and resolute Zosia, the insecure and sensitive Oscar, as well as independent but shy Kinga are the protagonists of the awarded The Fledgelings. These three begin their education at a boarding school for blind and visually impaired children. They're like fledgelings. They're seven and too young to leave their family homes. In times of such difficulty like being separated from their parents, they try to help each other… It's a film about the life lesson of “flying” and what allows us to survive each day, even if the world is collapsing around us.
A list of all winners in the section can be found here.