Raindance Film Festival
19 Lower Regent Street
London SW1Y 4LR
Tower. A Bright Day dir. Jagoda Szelc, Poland, 106 min
In an small rural community, Kaja returns to her family after a six-year absence, during which time her daughter Nina has been raised by her sister, Mula. Mula’s paranoia about losing Nina leads her to impose strict rules preventing Kaja from forming a relationship with her. Amidst this and other family dramas leading up to Nina’s first communion, a series of mysterious occurrences also begin to take place – some seemingly for the better; others more frightening. Screened in the Berlinale Forum, Jagoda Szelc’s unsettling feature debut is a seamless blend of mystical drama and psychological haunted house story. Subtle and foreboding, its cleverly manipulative use of cinematography and sound design contributes to the sense of something inhuman lying beneath the surface of a seemingly idyllic setting. As in Pasolini’s THEOREM or Dumont’s HORS SATAN, Kaja fills the role of a mysterious interloper around whom strange things begin to happen – things which begin seeping into the entire community, and even the surrounding landscape. Straddling genres and stylistic influences, Szelc has already drawn comparisons with filmmakers as diverse as Yorgos Lanthimos and Jennifer Kent – and all of it before she’s completed her degree at Łódź Film School.
Silent Night dir. Piotr Domalewski, Poland, 100 min.
Screening + Q&A with the Director on 5 October
We open on the night of Christmas Eve, stripped of any anticipation of family harmony. Credits roll over a group of men on a break from a night bus journey lined up to pee on the side of the road. Amongst them is Adam, on his way home to Poland for a surprise family visit. His reunion, however, is anything but calm. Adam tries to navigate and mend his family’s broken relationships, unravelling much unspoken hurt. He confronts his younger brother’s unexplained resentment, the abuse his sister is suffering at the hands of her husband, his father’s struggle with alcoholism, and his sour mother – whose dreams of sustain their family togetherness is crumbling to pieces. Adam announces two big pieces of news – his son’s birth and also his plans to move to the Netherlands for good. This disappointing news mirrors the social reality of Polish emigration. Silent Night displays powerful honest performances and has striking washed-out blue cinematography. Some of the film is also shown through the grainy film of Adam’s camera, who films his entire reunion to show his son in the future the realities and imperfections of familial relations.’
Polish Cultural Institute, London