Focus on Poland: six films to catch at EIFF

Focus on Poland: six films to catch at EIFF

Edinburgh International Film Festival places a focus on Polish cinema for its 71st edition

In its 70 year history, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has helped to champion and develop filmmaking talent from all over the world, continually showcasing a diverse range of voices through screenings, events and premieres. This year's festival promises to be as rich as ever, with a number of strands focusing specifically on providing differing perspectives from national and international filmmakers.

The national cinema focus this year will be on Poland, drawing attention to the unique and interesting cinematic landscape of the European country. The Focus on Poland strand aims to celebrate the work of some key talent from the country through a programme which includes eight new feature fiction films, one feature documentary and two programmes of short films.

To give you a snapshot of what to expect from the strand, we've rounded up some of the films we're most looking forward to.


The international premiere of Katarzyna Adamik's feature film, which is based on a true story. When a Polish businessman is murdered, the police fail to find the culprit. But three years later, a book is published with intricate details of the murder indicating that the author may be involved. Amok provides a chilling insight into the workings of a sociopath.
Odeon, Fri 23 Jun & Sun 25 Jun, 8.45pm.

The Erlprince (Królewicz olch)

Kuba Czekaj's coming of age/sci fi tale takes inspiration from Goethe's famous poem, 'Erlkönig', which tells the story of a child that is lured to his death by a malevolent supernatural being. The Erlprince follows a controlling mother and her gifted teenager as he experiences strange, otherworldly situations that convince him of the existence of parallel worlds.
Odeon, Sat 24 Jun, 3.40pm & Mon 26 Jun, 8.40pm.

Satan Said Dance (Szatan kazał tańczyć)

Young writer Karolina has three boyfriends and a life that revolves around partying, sex and drugs. But beneath the fun and excitement is an immense loneliness and egotism, along with a dangerous heart problem, which threatens to destroy everything. Katarzyna Roslaniec's film is a study of youth culture, through short social media-esque sequences that provide a scattered portrait of her central character.
Odeon, Sat 24 Jun, 8.45pm & Wed 28 Jun, 8.40pm.

The Sun, the Sun Blinded Me (Słońce, to słońce mnie oślepiło)

Filmmaking couple Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal's latest film is a reworking of Camus' L'Étranger, set in northern Poland and placed in a modern context where political tensions surrounding immigration are rife. Rafał Mularz is a stranger in his own society, but when he encounters a fellow stranger, who happens to be an immigrant, his seemingly random reaction is one of violence, resulting in a murder and conviction.
Filmhouse, Fri 23 Jun, 6.20pm & Sun 25 Jun, 6.15pm.

Polish Shorts: 15 Years of Wajda School

Created by Andrzej Wajda and Wojciech Marczewski, the Wajda School provides both education and supervision in the area of filmmaking, offering students the chance to work with top names in cinema in the environment of a real film set. Celebrating 15 years of their educational mission, the EIFF will screen three short films by Marcin Wrona, Agnieszka Smoczyńska and Aneta Kopacz.
Filmhouse, Sat 24 Jun, 3.45pm.


Wojtek Smarzowski's epic WWII drama refers to both a region between Poland and Ukraine and a series of massacres that occurred between 1943 and 1945 as part of an ethnic cleansing operation. The film explores a period of Polish history that is brutal and distressing through the story of a young Ukrainian farm girl and her determination to survive.
Filmhouse, Thu 22 Jun, 8.30pm & Odeon, Tue 27 Jun, 8.25pm.


  • 2017
  • Poland
  • 1h 48min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Katarzyna Adamik
  • Cast: Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Łukasz Simlat, Zofia Wichłacz, Zbigniew Stryj

A businessman is found dead, but the investigation goes cold. Years later, a police detective reads a book which seems to offer a clue to the case.

Satan Said Dance

  • 2017
  • Poland
  • 1h 37min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Katarzyna Roslaniec
  • Written by: Katarzyna Roslaniec
  • Cast: r: Katarzyna Roslaniec Stars: Tygo Gernandt, Marta Nieradkiewicz, Bartosz Gelner

An exploration of post-1990 Polish youth culture.

The Erlprince

  • 2016
  • Poland
  • 1h 41min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Kuba Czekaj
  • Cast: Staszek Cywka, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Sebastian Lach

The tale of an extraordinarily gifted young man and his ambitious and wondrous mother.

The Sun, the Sun Blinded Me (Slonce, to slonce mnie oslepilo)

  • 2016
  • Poland / Switzerland
  • 1h 14min
  • Directed by: Anna Sasnal/Wilhelm Sasnal
  • Cast: Rafal Mackowiak, Edet Bassey, Malgorzata Zawadzka

Inspired by Albert Camus' The Stranger, The Sun, the Sun Blinded Me follows Rafał Mularz, a stranger in his own society who creates a daily routine and a lifestyle that protects him from the outside world. His method seems to work fine until he is confronted with another stranger. A man thrown out by the sea, an…

Polish Shorts: 15 Years of the Wajda School

Three short films by students of the film school created by Andrzej Wajda and Wojciech Marczewski.


  • 2016
  • Poland
  • 2h 29min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Wojtek Smarzowski
  • Cast: Michalina Labacz, Arkadiusz Jakubik, Wasyl Wasylik

Volhynia is both a name referring to a historic border region between Poland, Ukraine and Belarus, and a byword for a series of brutal massacres occurring between 1943–1945. The film explores the region’s violent history hell through the will to survive of a young Ukrainian farm girl.