Documentary Film Versus TV Standard

in 55th Krakow Film Festival

by Maarek Hendrykowski

This was the 55th edition of the Kraków Film Festival (31st May-7th June). This famous festival, the oldest in Poland and also one of the oldest in Europe, started in 1961.

The Dragon of Dragons winner in 2015 was the legend of international animated film Priit Pärt from Estonia. Otherwise, after focusing on five western countries in the recent past, this year the Kraków Festival's focus moved to the East and Lithuanian documentary cinema.

The International Documentary Competition in Kraków brought with it a melting pot of various subjects and documentary genres. Characteristic screen topics this year numbered a total five: disability and disabled persons, senility and elderly people (age is a heavy burden), loneliness (disease, pain, body problems, and gender problems), intolerance (as a source of social conflict with special attention paid to the ordinary man) as well as the presence of war in the contemporary world.

Theme seems to be the king, whereas lapidary form is a victim of disinheritance. In comparison to the retrospective screenings (i.e. short masterpieces including Polanski's Two Men with a Wardrobe and The Mammals, Kijowicz's Cages, Rondo and Laterna magica or Lozinski's Poste restante) there were only a small number of new documentaries that achieved being both well composed and consistently edited. The importance of being concise is an almost unknown value for young filmmakers, seemingly believing that linear measure is the key to being profound. Therefore, the repeated discovery of the old art of the short film is still ahead of us.

Edited by Steven Yates

Lost Senses

in 55th Krakow Film Festival by Ulrich Wimmeroth

Ulrich Wimmeroth commends Shoulder the Lion as being exemplary of an outstanding documentary because it not only champions the spirit of challenged people but also conveys their lost senses or abilities through the use of strong symbolic visualisations to enhance the verbal accounts.  read more

Expanding the Documentary Form

in 55th Krakow Film Festival by Ohad Landesman

There were three very different but outstanding feature documentaries that caught the attention and praise of Ohad Landesman: Master and Tatyana comes from a rejuvenated Lithuania; an excellent visual essay from Russia called Battles; and finally the inventive The Queen of Silence from Poland.  read more

Documentary Film Versus TV Standard

in 55th Krakow Film Festival by Maarek Hendrykowski

Theme still rules supreme in the documentary form according to Marek Hendrykowski who believes that contemporay makers have plenty to learn from the old masters, like those exemplary in the retrospective section. Meanwhile, the Dragon of Dragons Lifetime Achievement award went this year to Estonian animator Priit Pärt. read more