Directors' Showcase / UK premiere

Time to Die

  • Dorota K?dzierzawska /
  • Poland /
  • 2007 /
  • 104 mins

Danuta Szaflarska, Krzysztof Globisz, Patrycja Szewczyk / Fiction / Polish

She won't go gentle into that good night.

?It’s an odd conceit of cinema that it persists in telling us tales about the young, dumb and dewy, when the old, clever and crinkly have so much more to impart. Dorota K?dzierzawska’s film embraces the latter constituency, with impressive results. Aniela (Danuta Szaflarska) is, as the title suggests, nearing the end. She’s all alone in her once-grand home, beset by contractors who want to develop her land and horrid neighbours who seem to be conspiring to push her out. Her family are unappreciative; the past, on which she increasingly dwells, is unalterable. And the younger generation? They don’t know they’re born. Created by writer/director K?dzierzawska as a vehicle for its leading lady, the remarkable 93-year-old Polish film stalwart Szaflarska, this dry, winning character study is almost a monologue. So exquisite is the writing and the performance that the viewer needs no more – although there is an absolutely stunning turn from the dog playing Phila, who takes canine responsiveness to startling new extremes. K?dzierzawska, a graduate of the famous film school in her home city of Lodz, triumphs here by delighting in Aniela’s character without ever attempting to define it. Our heroine is neither a sweet, passive old lady, nor an evil crone in the tradition of Tatie Danielle; she is a complicated human being who has amassed, over a long life, great stores of both bitterness and wonder. Admittedly, it’s the bitterness that largely surfaces here, and most amusingly too, but Aniela is never permitted to become a one-note grouch, and her relationship with Phila runs a thread of true warmth through the film. The cinematography, meanwhile, lends grandeur to a confined setting and a small-scale story: the film is shot in rich black and white, with painstaking attention to composition as well as to details of texture and movement.

Screening with:


  • Jamie Stone /
  • United Kingdom /
  • 2008 /
  • 3 mins

Within a winding Edinburgh stairwell, a frail old man struggles to make his way up the many flights to the summit.

Within a winding Edinburgh stairwell, a frail old man struggles to make his way up the many flights to the summit.

Director: Jamie Stone
Producer: Laura Clarke
Scriptwriter: Jamie Stone
Editor: Jamie Stone
Sound Production: Marcelo D’Oliviera
Music: Moondog

2008 Archive

Image from Time to Die

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