Polish Films at the 2015 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Marcin Koszalka’s thriller The Red Spider (Czerwony Pajak), inspired by the biography of Karol Kot, a serial killer from Krakow, and Bartosz Prokopowicz’s melodrama Chemo (Chemia) are the Polish representatives at the 50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.


The jubilee edition of one of the world's most important annual events devoted to cinematography will be held between 3rd and 11th July 2015.

Apart from thirteen films from all around the globe, two films co-financed by the Polish Film Institute – The Red Spider and The Magic Mountain by Ancy Damian – are competing in the Official Selection competition.

The Polish-Czech-Slovak thriller The Red Spider, inspired by the real actions of serial killer Karol Kot (later named the Krakow Vampire) that took place in Krakow in the 1960s. In the film by Koszalka, the main character played by Filip Plawiak comes from a privileged background. He is a talented teenager, good at sports, loved by his friends, and the pride and joy of his parents. Everything changes when the teenager witnesses a homicide.

“The desire to discover the truth about the murderer slowly changes into a journey to the darkest sides of human nature. The film is a story that delves into the mechanisms that give rise to a serial killer.”
– as the Polish Film Institute describes the film.

Apart from Plawiak, the cast features Polish actors such as Adam Woronowicz, Julia Kijowska, Malgorzata Foremniak, and Wojciech Zielinski.

The Magic Mountain is a Polish-Romanian-French film that presents the life of Adam Jacek Winkler.

“The main character is an individualist. As a member of a anti-communist resistance movement, he left Poland in 1965. Then he lived in Paris as an emigrant, where he became involved in the active fight against communism. After hearing about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he joined the Afghan army under the command of Ahmad Shah Massoud”
– as the Polish Film Institute describes the documentary.

Polish productions also feature in another section of the festival – in the East of the West competition that presents the debuts or second films of directors from Central and Eastern Europe. Three Polish films will take part in this competition – Journey to Rome (Droga do Rzymu), a Polish-Czech co-production by Tomasz Mielnik, a melodrama Chemo, and a well-known film by Grzegorz Jarzyna No Matter How Hard We Tried, based on Dorota Maslowska’s play.

Journey to Rome is a Polish-Czech comedy. The main character, Vasek, is a timid man in his thirties. Influenced by a woman, he steals a painting from the Prague National Gallery and disguised as a woman, begins his journey to the Eternal City. Chased by the owners of an antiquities shop and the police, he meets some very unusual people along the way.

Chemo starring Agnieszka Zulewska, Tomasz Schuchardt, and Eryk Lubos is a story about love and a fight with disease. The film is inspired by the biography of the head of the Polish charity Rak’n’Roll, which helps people with cancer – Magdalena Prokopowicz. Prokopowicz was diagnosed with cancer when she was only 27. She made the decision to establish the foundation in 2009, a very symbolic moment of her life when she gave a birth to her son Leos, right after her chemotherapy.

“It was a moment of absolute openness, when I began to believe that I could fight for myself and I wanted fight to for myself. I wanted to give people hope, shout to them that the fight against cancer can be won, that they can live and work normally, that they can give birth to a healthy child”
– she said.

Magdalena Prokopowicz died in June 2012.

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