Good and evil, life, afterlife, death... and, more than anything, the mysticism and fatalism of the Polish soul are expressed throughout the films presented in this selection.
Polish animation is characterised by a strong spiritualist trend. Taking a metaphoric and allegoric approach, numerous filmmakers have tackled the great questions about death (The Game by Martin Janiec), the meaning of life (The Stairs by Stefan Schabenbeck), the existence of an afterlife (7 More Minutes by Izabela Plucinska), and the notions of identity (Masks by Piotr Karwas), and eternity (The Cathedral by Tomek Baginski).
Most of these films are loaded with fatalism, such as the famous Ichthys (Marek Skrobecki) where a man, the only client of a cathedral-looking restaurant, is waiting for his meal like others would be waiting for Godot. But only Death will turn up, whereas God is nowhere to be seen, just like he won't be there to meet Katedra's pilgrim, who will end up petrified, victim of a deadly cult.
Of all these mystical filmmakers, Piotr Dumala is the most consistent. His works are mostly short films where he examines the questions of good and evil, such as in A Gentle Spirit, where he draws his inspiration from a Dostoïevski text, the same adapted by Robert Bresson for A Gentle Woman.
Directed by Witold Giersz, The Horse is the only film that can also be analysed under an exclusively political angle. By addressing the subject of freedom in 1967, Giersz delivers a precious message of hope to his compatriots.