Warsaw, Darius Gajewski’s first feature, has been much talked about in his native Poland with the awards it has won. The film is typical festival fare, structured around a series of characters, who develop independently around a common theme towards an eventual meeting of the ways. None of the main characters is from Warsaw: they are all provincial folk, lured to the big city on an ordinary day by personal expectations. A hitchhiking woman with romantic illusions; the Mafioso, who gives her a ride; a young lad fresh from the orphanage looking for work; a young girl devastated to discover the truth about her Warsaw boyfriend; and a farmer trying to trace his lost daughter.. The film provides few clues about either their past or their future. Equally, Gajewski has no interest in the lifestyle of the city’s residents or its tourist attractions. The film is concerned much more with fruitless searches in the city and hopes that backfire like bounced cheques. The meeting of the main characters and their experiences together preserve a balance between the extraordinary, which drives the film’s tempo, and the reality that anything can happen anywhere at any time. Warsaw may be typical festival fare, but it’s also quietly full of surprises. The palpable gloom of a bitter, fog-bound winter’s morning in the opening scenes automatically triggers associations of the stark, depressing reality of Eastern European cinema. But Gajewski is quick to change the colour of the film, switching to an ironic and often amusing tone. He does this with subtlety, making full use of music and distance. He takes a bittersweet approach to the dashed expectations of his characters, avoiding a lapse into tragic drama. The same applies to his use of the city as a location: the Warsaw we are presented with is not consciously aestheticized, but still has the ability to become romantic at the most unexpected moments. Yeşim Tabak


Dariusz Gajewski
Mateusz Bednarkiewicz

Wojciech Szepel

Jaroslaw Barzan

Film Studio them. Charles Irzykowski

Agnieszka Grochowska
Dominika Ostalowska
Lech Mackiewicz
Lukasz Garlicki

J. Fedorovich)
Cormorants (M. Litwiniec
P. Czepulkowski

Best Director
Best Editing
Best Screenplay
Best Supporting Female Role Gdynia Polish Film Festival
Grand Prize

10th Festival on Wheels