Culture in Poznań



Chronicling the times

Top documentaries from recent years will be screened during the 19th edition of Millennium Docs Against Gravity.

A shot from a movie: a woman and a doll held by another person, not visible in the photo - grafika artykułu
A still from "Anamnesis", courtesy of the organisers

This year's edition of the festival will be a hybrid affair with showings in cinemas across seven Polish cities (Warsaw, Wrocław, Gdynia, Poznań, Katowice, Lublin, and Bydgoszcz) held between 13-22 May and online screenings available from 24 May to 5 June. The festival's motto, Rethink Everything, comes from Going Circular, a film directed by Richard Dale and Nigel Fight. The organisers want the festival to inspire hope and prod one to action. The makers of Millennium Docs Against Gravity have struck a gender balance by having the films on show directed by a total of 90 women and the same number of men. Millennium Docs Against Gravity is also committed to supporting young Belarussian and Ukrainian filmmakers. For the first time ever, the festival will offer a Young Europe programme designed to support filmmakers at every stage of production from scriptwriting to trailer making. Its participants will also be helped to raise funds for their projects and promote and distribute their finished productions. In addition, the city of Poznań will confer the Freedom Award of €3,000 on the director whose documentary is found to do the most for freedom, human dignity and human rights. The results will be announced, and the award statuette presented on Thursday, 19 May.

Solidarity with Ukraine

Since its very inception, the festival has featured documentaries by Ukrainian filmmakers and films on Ukraine. One such production this year is Babi Yar. Context by Sergei Loznitsa. Focused on the tragic fate of Ukrainian Jews in 1941, the production has won an award at the Cannes Festival. Simon Lereng Wilmon has received the Sundance festival award for best director for his A House Made of Splinters on an orphanage for victims of war and domestic abuse built by volunteers in eastern Ukraine. The protagonist of Roma, dir. Olha Zhurba, became one of the faces of the Ukrainian Maidan revolution at the age of thirteen. Five years later, fascinated by the criminal underworld, Roma finds himself at the crossroads of life. The Dutch production The Treasures of Crimea, dir. Oeke Hoogendijk, tells the story of a 2014 Amsterdam Museum exhibition of treasured archaeological artwork from Crimea, which coincided with Russia's invasion of the peninsula. Who should the artworks be returned to? To the Crimea museums that loaned out the artwork, or to Ukraine? Finally, a cinematic portrayal of the Ukrainian artist and architect Florian Yuriev in Infinity According to Florian will be presented by director Oleksiy Radynski.

Intimate stories

Many documentary filmmakers observe their characters at extremely close quarters. Such is the case of Helena Třeštíkova and her production René - The Prisoner of Freedom. The director revisits René, the protagonist of her 2008 film, which has won numerous festival awards. After the release of the film about René's life in and outside of prison, audiences fell in love with the criminal, who became a celebrity of sorts in the Czech Republic. However, the newly found fame did little to help put him on the straight and narrow.

The producers of Anamnesis are out to explore what goes on in the head of a serial killer of women. How could quiet, calm and composed Stefan S. have become a sexual predator? The convict is attending Masculinity and Identity therapy sessions designed to treat violent sex offenders but refuses to show his face. The therapy, which forms the basis of the film, assumes the form of a puppet theatre, in which a puppet speaks in the voice of Stefan S. who is serving the final years of his sentence in a Brandenburg prison.

Raising a School Shooter puts the viewer face-to-face with three parents of adolescent killers who talk about life after a horrific and incomprehensible act committed by their children. Another account of trauma in the Intimate Stories section is provided in Housewitz, dir. Oeke Hoogendijk, which portrays the director's mother, Lous Hoogendijk-De Jong, a Nazi death camp survivor, who has not left her apartment for decades. She is plagued by recurring nightmares in which she is unable to return home, just like the day she was deported as a young Jewish girl.


In the film Lombard (Pawnshop), director Łukasz Kowalski accompanies characters from the city of Bytom who run probably the largest pawnshop in Europe that, unfortunately, is past its glory. With her film Hide and Seek, Victoria Fiore will take you on a tour of unknown Naples. Her tour guide of choice is a 12-year-old troublemaker named Entonia. In turn, Descending the Mountain, takes the viewer on a journey of mystical revelations through magic mushrooms and meditations. On the majestic Mount Rigi in Switzerland, Psychiatrist Franz Vollenweider and Zen master Vanja Palmers set out to discover what will happen if psilocybin is administered to accomplished meditator monks.

Heroes are among us

Becoming Cousteau is a cinematic portrayal of the French marine scientist, explorer, writer and director and an opportunity to heed his warnings on the climate crisis. In his film The Territory, Alex Pritz takes the viewer into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, where for three years the director accompanied the Uru-eu-wau-wau tribe in their fight for land and survival against President Bolsonaro. The Rescue presents an insider's story of the rescue operation that saved a bunch of boys and their coach trapped in a cave in Northern Thailand. Girl Gang will enable the festival audience to learn about a Berlin-based teenage influencer, whose life is all about advertised posts, negotiating with brands and viewer pressure.

Przemysław Toboła

translation: Krzysztof Kotkowski

19th Millennium Docs Against Gravity

13-22 May

Muza Cinema

Tickets: PLN 14 and PLN 17

For more, see:

24 May-5 June - online screenings at

© Wydawnictwo Miejskie Posnania 2022