CINEMA LESSON | Marcin Koszałka



One of the most talented and most controversial Polish documentary filmmakers, valued cinematographer and director, who this year is making his debut in the world of feature film with his “The Red Spider” (which will be screened at Two Riversides).

Koszałka entered Polish cinema in 1999 with “Such a Nice Boy I Gave Birth to” - an ambitious and daring dissection of his own family, shot at their own home, subjectively portraying the author's relationship with his toxic mother. Five years later the film got its sequel “It Will Be Alright,” which depicts the privacy of his close ones in a calmer way but also avoiding the suggestion that all wounds are already healed. This is typical for Koszałka, visible both in his documentaries and in his cinematography. They are filled with pessimism and the fear of death. They rather dwell on the subject and not give a soothing ending.

Koszałka admits that he chose the film school in Katowice because of his fondness of the school's co-founder, Krzysztof Kieślowski. But Koszałka defines the role of a documentary filmmaker differently than the author of “Seven Women of Different Ages,” and he is not afraid of difficult, shocking topics that most directors avoid. In his “The Existence” he filmed actor Jerzy Nowak fighting his disease, in “Dead Body” he visited a dissection lab and watched an autopsy, and in “User-Friendly Death” he talked to the employees of an Ostrava crematorium. “Name Day” leads us into a Social Welfare Home in Cracow, whose inmates are autistic or mentally handicapped, suffer from depression, and whose past is painful.

It was often pointed out that Koszałka deals with topics that are discarded or constitute a taboo, bringing them back to light where they can be reflected upon. He also works as a cinematographer. He regularly shoots the stories of Magdalena Piekorz (including the awarded “Welts”), he has worked with Jackek Bromski (“The Lovers of the Year of the Tiger,” “Entanglement”) and Michał Rosa (“Scratch”). The tasteful, nostalgic cinematography to Borys Lankosz's black-and-white “The Reverse” is proof of Koszałka's stylistic spectrum; he feels at home both in the rough world of documentary film and feature cinema which demands precision. He made use of all his talents and topical obsessions in “The Red Spider” – a story about a serial killer, set in the 1960s.

Sebastian Smoliński

© Festiwal Filmu i Sztuki Dwa Brzegi Kazimierz Dolny Janowiec nad Wisłą
Projekt i realizacja: Tomasz Żewłakow