Other than the odd TIFF premiere or Oscar nominee for best foreign-language film, the only hope Torontonians have of seeing Polish movies is the Ekran Polish Film Festival.
The diverse program includes both mainstream commercial features and more challenging cinema, and one title that falls in between the two. That's Jan Komasa's The Suicide Room (Friday, October 26), about a teenager (Jakub Gierszal) who's either drawn or lured into the eponymous virtual community. The teen dramatics are jazzed up with CG sequences of avatars in cyberspace; it's awkward, but it works.
Anna Plutecka-Mesjasz's commercial biopic Lose To Win (Sunday, October 28), about volleyball star Agata Mróz-Olszewska, who chose to put potentially life-saving treatment for a bone-marrow disease on hold in order to bring her unborn child to term, is a martyrdom story. But star Olga Boladz doesn't play into the clichés, giving the movie a weight it might not otherwise have achieved.
Tomasz Wasilewski's In The Bedroom (also October 28) stars Katarzyna Herman as a 40-ish woman trying to lose herself in a series of pseudonymous encounters. Compact and pointed, it's exactly the sort of slender mood piece that could rate a limited run somewhere in town.
The fest closes with The Fourth Dimension (October 28), a curio from Vice magazine and Grolsch Film Works composed of three unrelated shorts from the U.S., Russia and Poland. Jan Kwiecinski's Fawns, about four young people farting around in an evacuated town, is the Polish entry, but the real draw is Harmony Korine's typically batshit American contribution, which casts Val Kilmer as a motivational speaker called Val Kilmer and gets odder from there.