Team’s favourites

Are you interested in knowing what the DAFilms Team likes to watch? Films that we just can’t get enough of and keep going back to for more? Wondering who’s in charge of bringing you all the latest works from international cinema? Our very own Mikołaj Góralik, who is currently building up our DAFilms catalogue in Poland, has selected a number of hidden gems from Polish cinema for your viewing pleasure!

At the beginning of 2020, we embarked on a new adventure when we launched the Polish language version of DAFilms in February. The curator of our Polish programme, Mikołaj, does all the groundwork so that we can offer our viewers exclusive content available only in Poland on a regular basis. He carefully follows the latest works in Polish and international documentary film and presents them to our Polish audience at as part of our Film of the Week programme and other special programmes. Following our recent curated programme entitled Heartbeats of Polish Documentaries in which we presented films by such renowned Polish documentary filmmakers as Piotr Stasik and Wojciech Staroń, Mikołaj has now selected six short and medium-length films by debut filmmakers and rising stars in Polish documentary cinema.

Here are Mikołaj Góralik’s top picks on what to watch:

A Stranger on My Couch
The prevailing moods of Poland can be best experienced when propped up on couches in Polish people’s apartments. Director Grzegorz Brzozowski touched on a very important topic when shooting this film about couch surfers. For the people who offer a place for foreigners to spend the night under their own roof, these short meetings can mean so much more than just an opportunity to speak in a foreign language. They often fill in the voids of other failed relationships and allow hosts to forget that they’re alone, if only for just a little while.

Dancing for You
In 2018, Katarzyna Lesisz's documentary won the IDFA Award for Best Children's Documentary. The film follows the extraordinary passion of a 12-year-old boy who wants to become a master ballet dancer. Satisfaction with the progress he makes in dance, however, cannot make up for the lack of attention he receives from his father, who never even shows up to his son’s recitals. With a brilliant narrative that’s as light as the dance itself, Lesisz’s masterpiece tells the relatable story of how our success can only bring us joy when we have someone to share it with.

Close Ties
Pointing the camera at the ones you love and being shortlisted for an Oscar in the process is every debut filmmaker’s dream. But Zofia Kowalewska’s Close Ties is more than just “another film about complicated family relationships.” The creator manages to tell the unique story of her grandparents' relationship with a tender-loving care that is sure to evoke a whole range of emotions. Although Zdislav hopes to celebrate their 45th anniversary together, Barbara has mixed feelings about it. After all, Zdislav did leave her eight years ago for another woman. His return has proven to be a difficult test for the both of them, one that can’t simply be forgotten.

The Briefing
At a time when healthcare workers are fighting the pandemic on the front lines, this documentary is sure to resonate more now than ever before. Young doctors must undergo baptism by fire during a series of practical exercises. For the first time in their lives, they will have to face death and take full responsibility for their actions. The camera is mainly fixated on them and not on their patients. Every little mistake they make or piece of knowledge they lack will immediately reap hard consequences.
If this topic happened to pique your interest, then you’ll certainly like the documentary Doctors by Tomasz Wolski, available to watch now in the DAFilms catalogue.

The First Day
Daniel Banaczek's first documentary ties in perfectly with our current curated programme: The Scales of Justice. The film’s three main characters share their dreams of a new life once they get out of juvenile prison. But their first day of being released comes as a huge shock to them. We then follow their life stories for a period of over 10 years and find that reality often fundamentally destroys their dreams. The film’s themes refer to the “black series” of Polish documentary filmmaking from the 1960s.

How to Destroy Time Machines
In the end, it’s definitely worth travelling outside Poland together with filmmaker Jacek Piotr Bławut, who is shooting a documentary portrait of the musician and experimenter Jeph Jerman in Arizona. It proves to be a particularly difficult task as it’s a film meant to be heard more than seen. Jerman extracts sounds from intricate sound recordings, whether it be a recording of the rustling of leaves in the wind or the sound of insect wings. The result is a series of amazing compositions, which the director brilliantly conveys through imagery.

Selected films is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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