Polish Film Festival
Part II • November 15-19, 2023

Tickets can be purchased at the Little Theatre box office and online. • $12 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.

All films have English subtitles.

This event is run and organized by a third-party, taking place at The Little. The Little is not the organizer or programmer for this event. Please note that Little Theatre discounts, passes, and member benefits do not apply.

Back Then / Zupa Nic


Wednesday, November 15 • 7pm

Every town has its secrets. Michał Król – an entrepreneur who becomes the mayor – is painfully convinced of this. Corrupt officials, financial fraud and media manipulation become his everyday life. He must fend off the attacks of those who have gotten under his skin. At some point, he begins to fear for his life and that of his family. Despite the difficulties he faces, he does not give up, remains faithful to his ideals and works for the good of the local community. However, he will have to pay a high price for this. 

Following the screening: Q&A session with film producers Olga Bieniek and Marlena Kreńska 

Hunting (Polowanie) | 2023 | 120 mins

Directed by: Paweł Chmielewski

Written by: Mirosław Piepka, Michał S. Pruski, Paweł Chmielewski 

Principal cast: Michał Czernecki, Magdalena Wałach, Artur Barcis, Andrzej Andrzejewski, Szymon Piotr Warszawski, Kamila Kamińska, Ewa Kasprzyk, Wojciech Solarz, Piotr Cyrwus  

Produced by: Olga Bieniek, Mirosław Piepka, Marlena Kreńska  

Back Then / Zupa Nic


Thursday, November 16 • 7pm

Michał is a truck driver and the single father of Miśka. Long hours behind the wheel, loneliness and constantly being on the road are his everyday life. When he works, his Ukrainian neighbor takes care of his daughter. Her granddaughter Lenka and Miśka are inseparable. When the nanny dies suddenly, Michał takes the girls and goes back on the road, transporting a dead body to Ukraine. During this journey, Michał is forced to grow up fast as an active parent, decide what is most important to him and take responsibility for the future.

A Polish Ukrainian co-production developed before the Russian invasion, the film tackles some of the social history between the two nations as well as imagining what the future might be for their youth.

Daddy (Tata) | 2022 | 110 mins | Poland, Ukraine

Directed by: Anna Maliszewska 

Written by: Anna Maliszewska, Przemysław Chruścielewski 

Principal cast: Polina Gromova, Eryk Lubos, Yevheniia Muts, Seriej Solovyov, Marta Malikowska 

Back Then / Zupa Nic


Friday, November 17 • 7pm

The film is based on the semi-biographical novel of the same name by Leopold Tyrmand (Filip, 1961). 

In 1941, Filip, a young Polish Jew, escapes the massacre of the Warsaw Ghetto. Two years later, posing as French, Filip works as a waiter in a restaurant in Frankfurt in an exclusive hotel among other forced laborers from all over Europe. He makes the most of the world, surrounded by luxury and lonely German women. His life is one great reckless provocation. However, when the war begins to take a bloody toll among those closest to him, the intricately built world that surrounds him crumbles like a house of cards. 

Filip | 2022 | 125 mins

Directed by: Michał Kwieciński 

Written by: Michał Kwieciński, Michał Matejkiewicz 

Director of photography: Michał Sobociński 

Principal cast: Victor Meutelet, Eryk Kulm, Caroline Hartig, Robert Więckiewicz, Julian Świeżewski 

Back Then / Zupa Nic


Saturday, November 18 • 7pm

The action is set in the Communist Poland. The film is based on true events and tells unknown story of surveillance operation whose target was Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II. Told from the perspective of a young officer in charge of the operation; he invigilated Wojtyła for over 20 years from his consecration as a bishop of Krakow in 1958 until his election as Pope in 1978. The film skillfully uses generic tropes of an espionage thriller to tell a dark but compelling story of a man tasked with a morally indefensible objective, who succumbs to loneliness and despair. Wojtyła, the goal of the surveillance operation, is only visible in the film in rare glimpses, and yet his life becomes the obsession of the main character.  

Strawman (Figurant) | 2023 | 113 mins

Directed by: Robert Gliński 

Written by: Andrzej Gołda 

Principal cast: Marianna Zydek, Mateusz Więcławek, Zuzanna Lit, Zbigniew Stryj, Adrian Brząkała 

Back Then / Zupa Nic

Dangerous Gentlemen

Sunday, November 19 • 7pm

Writer and medical doctor Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, painter and writer Witkacy, writer and former sailor Joseph Conrad, and anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski – four leading figures among the Zakopane bohemians, wake up after all-night drunken party with an enormous hallucination-ridden hangover just to find out the corpse of an unknown man on the floor. They have not a clue who he is, why he is dead, and why law enforcement officers are knocking on their door. And that’s just the beginning of their problems. A race against time begins, in which the protagonists have to free themselves not just of any suspicion but also of equally dangerous societal gossip, and solve a puzzle of the mysterious death as soon as possible. Soon these brilliant and risk-loving men turn culturally vibrant Zakopane into the backdrop of a huge intrigue involving gangsters, artists and politicians. Their paths will even cross with Lenin himself who has just arrived in Poronin 

Dangerous Gentlemen (Niebezpieczni gentelmeni) | 2022 | 107 mins

Directed and written by: Maciej Kawalski 

Principal Cast: Tomasz Kot, Marcin Dorociński, Andrzej Seweryn, Wojciech Mecwaldowski