On May 31, started the 55th Krakow Film Festival. We would like to invite you to read the reviews of Polish documentary films which are included in the short film competition.

"Love Love," dir. Grzegorz Zariczny

Sixteen-year-old, ambitious girl with talent for hairdressing, makes her first steps in her profession and gets involved in an Internet relationship with a man whom she has never seen. Doubting her own capabilities is something she is very familiar with, and tumultuous atmosphere in her home does not facilitate her learning and work. "Love Love" tells about the grey reality, which the main protagonist wants to make a bit more colourful. What we have in this film is an image of an average Polish family, with many "defects" and of a home in which it is hard to find a quiet corner. Zariczny uses numerous close-ups to tell the story not only about the teenage girl, who grows up, but also about her parents, who stopped talking to each other a long time ago.

To talk about all this, "Love Love" uses simple language. Similarly, the whole story is quite simple. Not much happens here, and what we do watch, does not surprise at all. This is the film's advantage, as careful observation prevails over showiness.

"Endblum," dir. Wiola Sowa and Dorota Krakowska

A strange feeling of pain accompanied me for the entire 11 minutes of the film. The first part includes archival images from the pre-war period, depicting everyday life of the Jewish community in Central and Eastern Europe. Though I saw smiling faces, almost every frame made me feel anxious. These grandparents, middle-aged people, teenagers and children had no idea what suffering awaited them in the near future. In the second part of the film, we take a look at the interior of a contemporary synagogue. It is empty, only a prayerful song can be heard. This can be interpreted as a metaphor - soon empty places are all what remains of the Jews that look at us in the first part of the film.  Probably most of them died. The terrifying phantom of the Holocaust delicately soars over the film by Wiola Sowa and Dorota Krakowska.

"Snails," dir. Grzegorz Szczepaniak

The first few minutes of "Snails"  may not be enough to convince the viewer. The subject matter seems to be funny, and the story – only a little absorbing, simply - not good for a film. "Snails" are OK as an anecdote, but to make a film about two young men who decide to cultivate a huge number of snails in order to sell them later, because they are said to be tasty and to sell great - at the first sight, it does not look like an interesting subject.  However, in the middle, we begin to become convinced about the validity of the film by Grzegorz Szczepaniak, the subsequent scenes both amuse and move. Close-ups of escaping snails are funny, and the conversations of the two friends are moving. At some point one of them states that what is of little importance in life is power. We like the protagonists and admire their determination. The film shows that when one strives to achieve success, endurance is the greatest ally. Even if we fail on the first or second try in doing what we really care about, we should not give up, but keep on trying.

"The Island," dir. Natalia Krasilnikova

Watching "The Island" without earlier knowledge of the story shown in the film is an interesting experience. When we do not know who is the main protagonist, we may make various conjectures. The documentary film by Natalia Krasilnikova proves how appearances can be deceptive. The film, which depicts everyday life of Mykola Golowan to the last frames, conceals from us crucial information about the main protagonist. We look at the artist-sculptor, though we might have thought that this is a homeless man, surrounded by junk, bottles and other - seemingly useless - objects. The second half of the film explains a lot. Black and white photography emphasises the meaning of his work. It seems that his aim is self-realisation. 

Agnieszka Młynarczyk