When you are a film buff, filling up all those long, long hours that were suddenly gifted to us all by coronavirus (always look on the bright side of life, right?) is easy. Watch a few films; and then watch some more. What might not be so easy is navigating through all the content that is now available online. Trying to find something worth actually watching.

Let us help. Those that have been to the Raindance Film Festival already know our expert curatorial choices when it comes to the best independent films. Now we want to help you pick your next great movie to watch while stuck at home, with our personal list of indie and arthouse gems. These are films that made an impression on us, Raindance’s programmers. Every two weeks there will be a new list with a new film category, genre or theme, to get you through the next couple of weeks.

If you liked, or disliked for that matter, our suggestions, and would like to discuss the choices or get other suggestions on subjects closer to your heart, just email us:

Malaika Bova & Martyna Szmytkowska


Since last time we wrote about our take on British cinema, this time we thought it would be good to bring you the cinema of our own countries. Today it’s the turn of our favourite Polish films, and then Italian cinema in two weeks time.

Everybody knows Polanski, Holland, Kieslowski, and they are of course amazing, but there’s so much more to Polish cinema. Filmmaking flourished under communism as a way of battling the regime, but so few of those brilliant films are known to a non-Polish audience. Likewise, in recent years there’s been a steady increase of fresh talent and original storytelling that hasn’t received the exposure it deserves outside of Poland. Watch this week’s recommendations and you will understand what I’m talking about.


Martyna’s recommendations

The Cruise

Dir. Marek Piwowski, 1970

The Cruise shows the absurdity of living under the communist regime in a form of a hilarious comedy; I laugh my head off every time I watch it, and believe me, I have watched it many times. One of Poland’s most celebrated cult films; it never really made it abroad. That might be because of its very specific brand of language based humour, or simply because it couldn’t escape the Iron Curtain at the time it was released. Watch it, and let me know if you love it as much as Polish people do.

Available on Youtube

All These Sleepless Nights

Dir. Michał Marczak, 2016

One of the highlights of the Raindance Film Festival 2016, this is one of the best Polish films from recent years. The experimental film blurs the line between documentary and narrative fiction. What we get as a result is a fresh and unique portrait of youth, and of all those Warsaw party nights filled equally with self-indulgence and fun as well as philosophy and human relationships. It has both lightness and gravitas. Watch it, and watch out for further films from director Michał Marczak.

Available on Amazon

Malaika’s recommendations

Cold War

Dir. Paweł Pawlikowski 2018

This is a with or without you passionate love story unveiling against the backdrop of the Cold War. The stunning cinematography is the background for beautiful, intense acting. A dense and provocative watch. What is most striking to me though is the profound sense for story telling able to convey layers of meaning through a mesmerizing plot.

Available on Amazon UK

Katyń

Dir. Andrzej Wajda 2009

Oscar Nominated for best foreign film, Katyn is the true horrific story of how 15000 officers of the Polish army were massacred by the Russian NKVD at the beginning of the second world war. An episode that wiped out many of a generation brightest and among them the father of Wajda himself. This film is the director’s brave dive into his own personal history as well as one of the country’s most painful secrets. 

Available on Amazon UK

Other Raindance Pic(k)s

Documentary | QueerRomanceFeel-Good Films | Dark Humour | Absurdities | Women | UK Films

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About 

Raindance’s senior programmer and programme manager, Martyna, has helped with curating the Raindance Film Festival lineup since 2013. In her previous, pre-Raindance life she was a talent agent in one of the leading Polish talent agencies. She has an MA in Film History and Theory.

Malaika has been a Programmer and Programme Manager for Raindance since 2017. Prior to that she worked as a TV producer with ABC News, BBC and Fremantle Media and programmed for five years the Italian Film Festival in London.