Polish Film Festival
November 9 – November 13, 2022

$11 general admission
$7 students

Since 1997, the Polish Film Festival has been a fixture in Rochester, thanks, in part, to the area’s active Polish-American community.

The annual, two-part festival presents classic Polish cinema as well as contemporary works produced by the newest generation of the country’s filmmakers. It showcases internationally recognized films that might not otherwise be seen in the area and attracts renowned Polish actors, directors, screenwriters, and critics to Rochester.

The festival is sponsored by the Skalny Center, the Polish Film Institute, the Polish Filmmakers Association, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York and the Polish Heritage Society of Rochester.

Back Then / Zupa Nic


 Wednesday, November 9 • 7pm

Based on the life of Polish pianist Grzegorz Płonka, Sonata is the story of a boy who was misdiagnosed with autism and spent his early life in a hermetic existence. Grzegorz’s life transforms when a private tutor suggests that he has a hearing impairment. With the aid of a hearing implant, Grzegorz begins to learn sounds, words, and music, and a terrific musical talent emerges.

He can finally express in words his greatest dream: to play piano and perform a concert in front of a huge audience.  With naturalistic cinematography, a marvelous soundtrack, and great sensitivity, director Bartosz Blaschke conveys the world of a deaf musical genius.

Sonata is a warm and heartfelt film that has captivated audiences and critics alike.  

Back Then / Zupa Nic

Woman on the Roof

Kobieta Na Dachu

 Thursday, November 10 • 7pm

Based on a true story, Woman on the Roof  follows 60-year-old Mira (Dorota Pomykała) as she goes out to buy some fish food and then tries to rob a bank, threatening a bank teller with a small knife. From that moment on, Mira’s uneventful life with an unaffectionate spouse, a self-absorbed son, and a load of ironing, becomes unwieldy. She is consistently left alone as she struggles not only with the consequences of her impulsive actions, but also the circumstances that have led her there. It becomes obvious that the crime that Mira committed is a symptom of her larger problem of being depressed.

Dorota Pomykała gives an outstanding performance as Mira, a woman who’s teetering on the edge of suicidal thoughts. She captures this character’s inner struggles seamlessly.

Dorota Pomykała won the Best Actress award at Tribeca Film Festival and at Gdynia Polish Film Festival.

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Fucking Bornholm

 Friday, November 11 • 7pm

Fucking Bornholm is a contemporary comedy-drama focusing on the issue of confronting own needs and desires with being responsible and taking responsibility of others. Two couples with kids going away for a short holiday, where their relationships will be tested. Each one of them has a different goal and expectations, and each one of them has a problem to be revealed. When one of the children withdraws from the other two boys, seemingly plagued by unspoken trauma, his mother suspects that something appalling has happened between them Resulting disagreements and arguments between the adults trigger a wave of crisis in friends’ relationships and expand to open admissions of marital discontent and long-held personal resentments.

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The Balcony Movie

Film Balkonowy

 Saturday, November 12 • 3pm

Can anyone be a movie hero? Can the world be locked in one film frame? Director Paweł Łoziński is watching people from his balcony as they are passing by: sad, thoughtful, glued to their phones, young and old. Neighbours, random visitors or simply passers-by. The filmmaker accosts them, asks questions, talks about how they deal with life. Standing there with his camera for over 2 years he has created a space for dialogue, a lay confessional of sorts, where everyone can stop by and tell their story. The protagonists carry secrets and mysteries, and are not easy to label. Every story is unique, and life always surpasses imagination.

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Leave No Traces

Żeby Nie Było Śladów

 Saturday, November 12 • 7pm

The film is based on true events which happened in Poland, in 1983. On May 12, Grzegorz Przemyk, a high school student, is arrested and beaten to death by a police patrol. The film follows the story of one of Grzegorz’s colleagues, Jurek Popiel, the only witness of the beating, who decides to fight for justice and to testify against the police.  Initially, the state apparatus, including the Ministry of the Interior, downplays the case. However, when over 20 thousand people will march through the streets of Warsaw behind Przemyk’s coffin, the authorities decides to use any tools against the witness and the deceased’s mother to discredit them and prevent Jurek from testifying in court.

The movie was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 78th Venice International Film Festival and was selected as the Polish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

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 Sunday, November 13 • 7pm

Illusion is a movie about strength of a human spirit, about searching for reconcilement and harmony against tragic odds. Months after her disappearance, the mother of a missing daughter starts her own increasingly irrational investigation. Sometimes she plays along with reality, other times she questions it. This investigation leads her to perception beyond rational experience, brings new hope that her child is still alive and opens her to the world again.

Following the screening: Closing Reception at Theater 1