The 59th BFI London Film Festival: 11 Minutes


After a 5 year hiatus, Jerzy Skolimowski has finally released his new film entitled 11 Minutes. The apocalyptic thriller has already received positive reviews at this year’s Venice International Film Festival, where it was nominated to Golden Lion in the main competition section. It was also screened in the Masters section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, and was recently selected as Polish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the next year’s Oscars.

At five pm, in the surrounding area of one of the hotels in Warsaw, the fate of several ordinary people are interwoven: an ingénue actress (Paulina Chapko), who is meeting a not so trustworthy American film producer (Richard Dormer), a jealous husband (Mecwaldowski), an alpinist who cleans windows and struggles to come to terms with the fact that his girlfriend (Agata Buzek) decides to become a porn star. There is also a youngster who is keen on robbing a pawnshop, a former teacher (Andrzej Chyra) who sells hot dogs, a local drug dealer who has a romance with his customer’s wife, and a bunch of paramedics who desperately try  to safe a heavily pregnant woman. The only connection between them is one foolish incident that will become their end.


The complex mosaic of the characters is filmed in, as the director likes to call it, a single 11-minute period, not counting the time when Skolimowski shoots them on an iPhone, laptops or using the CCTVs footage. Also the pace of the film is fast and leaves more questions rather than answers to what’s happening on the big screen. What’s great about Skolimowski’s movie is that, there is no particular protagonist in it. We get to meet various individuals, with different backgrounds.

Skolimowski has a great gift in choosing interesting acting talent for his films. Apart from a young generation of diverse performers such as Agata Buzek (Hummingbird, Les Innocentes), Paulina Chapko, Mateusz Kosciuszkiewicz, he also picked a renowned cast including Andrzej Chyra, famous for his role in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue IV (1989), Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones), and Jan Nowicki, who is known for his roles in Ashes (1965) by Andrzej Wajda and Anna (1987) by Jerzy Bogajewicz and, without a doubt, none of the actors disappointed.

11 minutes film 2

The Polish filmmaker is well known for his tension-building films. The final scene of 11 Minutes turned into pure armageddon, and it will create emotional confusion, as well as tears and anger. The special effects by Jakub Chilczuk, faultless editing by Agnieszka Glinska’s (Difret, Yuma, The Here After), cinematography by Mikolaj Lebkowski and intensive soundtrack by Pawel Mykietyn will effectively keep you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, the reference to the event of 9.11 was too obvious and unnecessary. The scene where a low-flying airplane looks like it is about to crash, was slightly overdone.

11 Minutes will definitely compel you to reflect on your own life and the importance of today’s world. The film will be out in November 2015, make sure you go to the cinema to see it.


Written by Maggie Gogler

Edited by Roxy Simons


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