Jacek is an outsider out of a sense of conviction. With his long hair and heavy metal cowl, he’s completely out of place in his tiny Polish hometown, though his marginalisation also affords him a certain freedom. He can listen to music as loud as he likes, dance wildly with his girlfriend and laugh when the village kids call him “Satan”. But a work accident on the construction site of the world’s largest Jesus statue forces him into a new, painful peripheral existence. In the aftermath of a long fall Jacek has to undergo plastic surgery, Poland’s first face transplantation in fact. His features change and with them the attitudes of other people, who, in contravention of the teaching of the giant messiah towering above, turn their backs on their neighbour.
Director Małgorzata Szumowska will be very familiar to long-time goEast attendees. 2014’s goEast Portrait was dedicated to the filmmaker, and in 2015 her film BODY opened the festival. In her most recent work, which won the Silver Bear – Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlinale, she uses the building blocks of a classic Frankenstein story to reveal social ills such as xenophobia, religious fanaticism, overzealous consumerism and the ailing healthcare system in contemporary Poland. Featuring powerful dreamlike images and an energetic soundtrack, Szumowska’s film is an impressively multifaceted feat of drama.
Born in 1973 in Kraków, Poland, Szumowska studied directing at Polish National Film School Łódź. Since graduating in 1998 she has worked as a screenwriter, director and producer of fiction and documentary films. Her films have received numerous international awards, including a Silver Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival for 33 SCENES FROM LIFE and the Berlinale Teddy Award for IN THE NAME OF… . For her film BODY she received the Silver Bear for Best Directing at Berlinale 2015.
91 min, DCP, colour
OV with German and English Subs
National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute
Krakow Festival Office
Leśnodorski Ślusarek & Partners
Memento Films International