May 2017, arsenal cinema

filmPolska - The Art of the Camera: Marcin Koszałka


Screenwriter, cinematographer, director of documentaries and features: Koszałka is one of the most versatile filmmaking talents in contemporary Polish cinema. Since his serious, unflinching documentary debut TAKIEGO PIĘKNEGO SYNA URODZIŁAM (Such a Nice Boy I Gave Birth To, Poland 1999), one key focus of his film work has been extreme situations whether physical or mental, fictional or real, which he always approaches with new forms of cinematic expression as both a director and cameraman and thus constantly takes the boundaries of what can be represented as his theme.

TAKIEGO PIĘKNEGO SYNA URODZIŁAM (Such a Nice Boy I Gave Birth To, Marcin Koszałka, Poland 1999, 6.5., with guest Marcin Koszałka) The setting of the film is the flat belonging to the Koszałka family. On the sofa at home, the director is the target of endless hateful tirades from his mother. A horror trip that Koszałka can only counter with his camera. "The film has nothing to do with revenge. The film was something like self-therapy for me." (MK)

DEKLARACJA NIEŚMIERTELNOŚCI(Declaration of Immortality,Marcin Koszałka, Poland 2010, 6.5.) Piotr Korczak isn’t just a legend among climbers in Poland. Since the 80s, the alpinist has conquered the most demanding of climbing routes Koszałka accompanies “Szalony” (the crazy one) on a vertiginous mountain tour that takes in both landscape precipices as well as the depths of human nature. An essay about competitive sport as a drug, where risk and death are omnipresent.

DO BÓLU(Till It Hurts, Marcin Koszałka, Poland 2008, 6.5.) Following countless years of being a hermit, Ewa enters the life of a 53-year-old psychiatrist who still lives with his mother. While he blossoms, his mother reacts with hysteria and tries everything to try and sabotage the new relationship. A documentary tragi-comedy located between breakdown and tenderness.

CZERWONY PAJĄK(The Red Spider,Marcin Koszałka, Poland 2015, 7.5., with guest Marcin Koszałka) Koszałka’s first feature is based on real events: at the end of the 60s, a serial killer spreads fear and terror through the population of Krakow. Koszałka turned the “Vampire of Krakow” from back then into the “Red Spider”. The killer’s latest victim is discovered by young student Karol, who instead of reporting his finding to the police decides to stick to the murderer’s heels himself. With cool precision and captivatingly accurate camerawork, Koszałka creates a disturbing portrait of Polish society in the months before the March unrest of 1968.  

ISTNIENIE(The Existence, Marcin Koszałka, Poland 2007, 8.5., with guest Marcin Koszałka) 90-year-old actor Jerzy Nowak is battling a terminal illness. He decides that he won’t have his body buried after his death, but will rather make it available for medical research – a particularly brave decision in Catholic Poland. Footage of trips to different authorities, wedding preparations and not least interview passages with Nowak are combined into a sober, moving portrait of a dying man and a mediation on death.

RYSA (Scratch, Michał Rosa, Camera: Marcin Koszałka, Poland 2008, 9.5.) Joanna’s 60th birthday becomes a dramatic turning point in her life. On a video cassette left as an anonymous gift, her husband is denounced as a former member of the secret service staff. Joanna begins to make enquiries and is increasingly unable to hold off her growing mistrust. Her life crisis finds a visual parallel in the steady desaturation of the colors and in the transition from the bright mood of summer to a cold, snowy winter. (mg)

filmPOLSKA is a production by the Polnisches Institut Berlin in collaboration with the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) under the patronage of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg with the friendly support of the Polish Film Institute (PISF), the Adam-Mickiewicz-Instituts (IAM), the Stiftung für deutsch-polnische Zusammenarbeit and the Filmoteka Narodowa.

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