Documentary

The Good Change Poles Apart

A portrait of two women who represent two sides of political rift which is dividing Poland.
Marta helps the Far Right party in implementing ‘The Good Change” programme which is to ‘fix’ the state.
Tita opposes to it, calling it putinisation of the country.  
 
Marta is the head of a large family involved in pro-government activities, including political rallies. She leads a patriotic lobby group supporting the ruling party and is bringing up the next generation of right-wing paramilitary troops. Her daughter and grandchildren are being trained by Marta how to use firearms.
 
Tita belongs to a middle class family.
She had been a housewife who in 2015 started organizing protests against the breaking of Polish constitution by the government. According to her the ruling party is creating authoritarian state and this is the beginning of Poland's exit from the EU. She’s become a fully-fledged politician, one of the leaders of opposition which encourages Poles to take to the streets to defend democracy.
How does their activity influence their lives? What is the price of being involved in politics? Can they find a compromise which would prevent violence?
 
Written and directed by:Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Michał Ślusarczyk
Editing: Paweł Kowalik, Małgorzata Prociak
Music composed by: Adam Walicki
Length: 76'
Completed:2015
Producer: Małgorzata Prociak, Konrad Szołajski - ZK STUDIO
Co-production: ONET, TS PRODUCTIONS, Silesian Film Institute
With the support of the Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme of the European Union

The Battle with Satan

In 1998 John Paul II reinstated the medieval ritual of exorcism. Benedict XVI supports the banishing of demons. Pope Francis publicly prayed over the possessed in St. Peter’s Square. Today, masses of faithful are subjected to exorcisms on a worldwide scale. The number of priests who conduct the ritual is also increasing. Our protagonists - Karolina, Basia and Agnieszka – are facing serious difficulties in their lives. In order to regain ‘spiritual harmony’ they seek help from the exorcists. They are supported in their struggle with Satan by their families, spiritual teachers and medical professionals.
Konrad Szolajski (who previously directed ‘And God Created Sex…’ for HBO), patiently followed and observed the protagonists who believe that they’re possessed and need exorcisms. Szolajski’s new film is not only a story of three women and their battle with Demons, but also an investigation of spirituality in contemporary times. The documentary explores various viewpoints regarding the phenomena of exorcisms- it includes contributions from Catholic priests, psychiatrists, psychologists, and historians of religion. Szolajski does not judge or attempts to scare the audience; instead he calmly shows the protagonist’s struggle with Evil. Throughout the film the protagonists are portrayed with a great deal of sympathy and understanding.
 
The film has gained a prestigious grant from Tribeca Film Institute as well as financial support from Creative Europe – MEDIA European Union programme.
 
Written and directed by:Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Michał Ślusarczyk
Editing: Paweł Kowalik
Music composed by: Adam Walicki
Length: 75’, 58', 50'
Completed:2015
Producer: Małgorzata Prociak, Konrad Szołajski - ZK STUDIO, HBO Europe in association with SVT, DR, TG4, TFI Documentary Fund
With the support of the Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme of the European Union
A Polish Film Institute Co-financed Production

And God created sex...

‘And God created sex...’ is a portrait of a monk father Ksawery Knotz and his pupils. During the retreats given to the married couples father Ksawery teaches the ways to connect an ardent religiosity with joyful sexual fulfillment taking the religious instructions of John Paul II as a base.
The statements of father Ksawery are compliant with the official instructions of Catholic Church although some critical voices against father Ksawery's activity can sometimes be heard.
Through the observation of three couples taking part in the retreats the film exposes problems that marriages confront while trying to liberate themselves from sexual suppressions resulting from their religion.
‘And God created sex...’ also arises the issue of the Church statements actual status. Do the instructions of the pre-marital purity, abstinence as a form of contraception, fidelity to the grave and having numerous children became an anachronism, the way of stopping the time? Or maybe they carry some timeless values that a modern human has lost somewhere among the mass culture and erotically tempting hypes.

Written and directed by: Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Michał Ślusarczyk
Editing: Jan Mikołaj Mironowicz
Length: 53’
Completed:2011
Producer: Ewa Żukowska, Konrad Szołajski - ZK STUDIO, HBO Polska Sp. z o.o.
A Polish Film Institute Co-financed Production

Seduction camp

Let us imagine Casanova or Don Juan becoming lecturers at a reputable university where they explain the intricacies of the theory and practice of.... seduction. Can it really work? Can it become a field of science? Supposedly yes. Nowadays, the seduction trainings are getting more and more popular and those who are interested are also ready to pay a lot of money for it…
The film shows the phenomenon of seduction schools through observation of an exemplary training where the teacher inculcates into his pupils’ minds the techniques of coming onto women. Is the theory later affirmed by practice? We would get the answer observing the heroes in shopping malls and clubs with hidden cameras.
The techniques of seduction are – as the critics say – a spoiled element of today’s commercialized and lowered culture and can even hurt those who are putting it into effect. Seduction trainings help to gain sexual partners but could be harmful when it comes to developing a long lasting emotional relationship.
By observing the consequences in the heroes’ lives the director tries to find out whether pupils of seduction camps gain or lose having decided to take part in the training.

Written and directed by: Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Michał Ślusarczyk
Editing: Jerzy Zawadzki
Length: 50’
Completed: 2010
Producer: Ewa Żukowska, Konrad Szołajski - ZK STUDIO, in association with ERT, NRK, YLE, SBS
With the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union
A Polish Film Institute Co-financed Production

Living on light

Living without food? Gaining the energy from the environment? Is it possible? This film observes a group of people who claim that man can feed himself with light.
Marek, a Polish bio-therapist living in Greece hasn’t eaten for 63 days and lost over 50% of his body mass which almost caused his death.
Krzysztof has just come back from India where he studied yoga. His longest fast lasted a month but he’s planning to cleanse his body completely and switch to alternative energy sources.
Kazimierz claims that he has done it already and for the last five years has been feeding himself with sun light.
Joanna’s longest period without food was two weeks but she believes that living on light is a way to achieve happiness.
By telling their stories these people have courage to contradict the theories of modern science.
 
Written and directed by: Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Ewa Anna Żukowska
Editing: Jan Mikołaj Mironowicz
Length: 42’
Completed: 2010
Producer: Ewa Żukowska, Konrad Szołajski - ZK STUDIO
A Polish Film Institute Co-financed Production

Good Morning, Lenin!

Konrad Szolajski’s movie observes a group of western left-wingers during their visit to Poland. The aim is to confront their common expectations regarding communism and the transformation of the former socialist countries with the reality.
‘Crazy Guides’ agency provides lots of attractions for heroes by stowing them into trabis and taking to Nowa Huta –The Perfect City according to Socio-Realism rules. The group not only admires the newest historical monuments but is also having a chance to feel how the villagers lived. Therefore, the heroes would milk a cow, plough up a field and tresh cereal filling their stomachs with potatoes during spare time. A visit to the metallurgical factory followed by an illustrating lecture and discussion with Nowa Huta’s true dwellers bring change to heroes’ attitude. The tourists notice that the perfect world had also it’s darker sides and that the central system of planned economy wasn’t such a brilliant idea at all.
The movie refers to a German production titled Good Bye, Lenin! which also takes up the matter of putting down communism. Good Morning, Lenin! Yet, it views the other point of this issue by showing the newest Polish history through the eyes of western tourists and keeping it’s form amusing and facetious.
 
Written and directed by: Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Michał Ślusarczyk
Edting: Jerzy Zawadzki
Length: 50‘
Completed: 2009
Producer: Ewa Żukowska, Konrad Szołajski - ZK STUDIO, MDR, in association with ERT
With the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union
A Polish Film Institute Co-financed Production

Entrappers

The footage recorded with a hidden camera follows a female student meeting with men who would be willing to support her in exchange for sex. However, the film is not a documentary about sexual services but a presentation of working methods of an investigative reporter.
‘Deceiving’ or rather ‘undercover journalism’ is a method involving a reporter impersonates a member of the community he or she is trying to describe. The goal of such “impersonation” is to obtain a material that cannot be accessed in any other way – questions asked openly would influence the behaviour of the subjects in focus.
The pioneer of ‘undercover journalism’ in Poland was Jerzy Urban, who opened a fictitious marriage agency in 1957 to conduct a survey among those who were looking for a spouse. He obtained results that were contradictory to the official image of the Polish society. Janusz Rolicki was his follower in the 1960s and he impersonated a blue collar worker, herdsman, sailor and finally – a corrupt liquidator who was later described in his book entitled ‘I took bribes’ (“Brałem łapówki”).
Tomasz Łysiak calls various public institutions impersonating different people to collect examples of absurdities in modern Poland, which he presents on Radio WAWA in his radio show – ‘Detektyw Inwektyw’. The reporters of ‘Fakt’ are organizing an undercover report modelled on Nikolai Gogol’s ‘The Inspector General’.
By presenting examples of the most known ‘undercover operations’ this film poses questions about the ethical aspects of journalistic “cheating”.
 
Written and directed by: Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Kamil Król
Editing: Hanna Kłoskowska
Lenght: 49’
Completed: 2006
Production: Ewa Żukowska, Konrad Szołajski - ZK STUDIO, TVP S.A.
A Polish Film Institute Co-financed Production

The Parish of Father Custodian

The inspiration to make this film was a scene from Konrad Szołajski’s feature debut The Man of… (1993) in which St. Mary’s Sanctuary appeared.
The film director came back to that place to make a documentary about the people who consider this temple to be the centre of their world. The pious inhabitants of a small village in the middle of Poland led by their charismatic parish priest erected a pyramid–like sanctuary which overwhelms the area.
The director and cameraman followed a sanctimonious style of naive religious paintings to convey the feeling of fierce pious faith expressed in an extraordinary way.
 
Written and directed by: Konrad Szołajski
Camera: Ryszard Janowski
Editing: Hanna Kłoskowska
Lenght: 25’
Completed: 2006
Production: ZK STUDIO
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