A jealous husband out of control, his sexy actress wife, a sleazy Hollywood director, a reckless drug messenger, a disoriented young woman, an ex-con hot dog vendor, a troubled student on a mysterious mission, a high-rise window cleaner on an illicit break, an elderly sketch artist, a hectic paramedics team and a group of hungry nuns. A crosssection of contemporary urbanites whose lives and loves intertwine. They live in an unsure world where anything could happen at any time. An unexpected chain of events can seal many fates in a mere 11 minutes
We tread on thin ice. We walk the edge of the abyss. Around every corner lurks the unforeseen, the unimaginable. The future is only in our imagination. Nothing is certain - the next day, the next hour, even the next minute. Everything could end abruptly, in the least expected way.
I had this idea that the prologue would be something akin to a cyber cemetery for our characters. We shot the opening sequence using common tools: a phone camera, a computer camera, a closed-circuit camera. I wanted to convey the feeling of intimacy, immediacy and the truth of authentic source material. The original concept involved having to do with simple, innocent objects outliving us – like your wallet surviving an airplane crash in which you yourself perish. Today, with social media so prevalent, you might say a significant part of our afterlife is realized in the form of photographs or video footage existing independently in cyber space, or (paradoxically) in some “cloud.”
In my initial idea for the film, time played an instrumental role. The script was written with rigid constraints in mind. I measured the action of the characters methodically and intended to present each story in real-life time. The action was to be contained, precisely, within 11 minutes, between 17:00 and 17:11. In the final shape of the film, loosening this rigidity of structure turned out to be more compelling. One can still, I hope, sense the underlining passage of time, but it is not instrumental to the emotional perception of the story. I ended up opting for the metaphor.
I’ve always found constraints to be stimulating. In the case of 11 MINUTES, this additionally freed me from having to deal with conventional narrative devices. I really wasn’t interested in following character arches or motivations, presenting plausible storylines and plot points, or thinking in terms of beginning, middle and end. My focus was on seeing my characters through a continuous series of almost abstract moments, as accidental and banal – or poignant – as only life can be. I enjoyed this strange mixture of the meaningful and the meaningless, of the relevant and the irrelevant. I was curious to see how the two blend together.
On a purely aesthetical level, the symmetry and simplicity of the number 11 somehow appeals to me. I’m sure the number itself has some numerolological connotations, but honestly speaking, I never much cared to look into that.
We shot 11 MINUTES primarily in Warsaw, plus a week of shooting on the stage in Dublin and another week on the stage at Alvernia Studios near Cracow. The key to the selection was always pure production pragmatism. As to the location in Warsaw – we have indeed considered all of the major squares here. We chose the location eventually seen in the film, Plac Grzybowski, because it provided the most jarring contrast between the old and the new, between order and chaos, the beautiful and the ugly. The square itself, or ideed the city, is never named (and there is no reason it should be), but I hope the location somehow conveys the experience of jagged, dynamic crossroads. With the unexpected lurking behind every corner. The character, as well as the common expectation of “Polishness,” are changing. Poland has over the course of the past twenty years really undergone a dramatic change.
11 MINUTES is Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s new feature. His last film, ESSENTIAL KILLING won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Venice Film Festival, Best Film in Mar del Plata (Argentina), as well as several Polish Academy Awards (Golden Eagle).
With over 20 films to his name, Skolimowski’s work includes the Berlin Golden Bear winner DEPART , Cannes Grand Prize winner THE SHOUT , Cannes Best Screenplay winner and political drama MOONLIGHTING , Venice Fest Best Director/Special Jury Prize winner THE LIGHTSHIP , and the 2008 thriller FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA, which opened the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and won the Grand Jury Prize in Tokyo.
Early in his career, Skolimowski was a writer on Roman Polanski’s 1962 classic KNIFE IN THE WATER. As an actor, Skolimowski has appeared in EASTERN PROMISES, BEFORE NIGHT FALLS, MARS ATTACKS and THE AVENGERS . He is also an accomplished painter who has participated in the Venice Biennale and other exhibitions across Europe and the US.
Film DirectorRICHARD DORMER
Husband WOJCIECH MECWALDOWSKI
Wife PAULINA CHAPKO
Hot Dog VendorANDRZEJ CHYRA
Female ClimberAGATA BUZEK
Male Climber PIOTR GŁOWACKI
Doctor ANNA MARIA BUCZEK
Painter JAN NOWICKI
Boy ŁUKASZ SIKORA
Girl with a Dog IFI UDE
Her Ex-Boyfriend MATEUSZ KOŚCIUKIEWICZ
Woman in Labor GRAŻYNA BŁĘCKA-KOLSKA
Dying Man JANUSZ CHABIOR
directed byJERZY SKOLIMOWSKI
screenplay byJERZY SKOLIMOWSKI
director of photographyMIKOŁAJ ŁEBKOWSKI PSC
editorAGNIESZKA GLIŃSKA PSM
production designerJOANNA KACZYŃSKA
costume designerKALINA LACH
make-up designerANNA NOBEL-NOBIELSKA
production managerANDRZEJ STEMPOWSKI
photos Robert Jaworski
Wilhelm Sasnal, a notable presence in the international contemporary art scene, is a young Polish artist whose work ranges from painting to comic books, films and more. He studied architecture in the Krakow Technology Institute, and in 1994 began his painting studies under the tutelage of Professor Leszek Misiak at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts.
Sasnal’s paintings, like his films and other work, offer a seemingly arbitrary plethora of images, genres and textures. They function together as one deconstructed work, creating an ever-growing puzzle that can never be made whole. Relating to Pop Art, photo-realism, abstraction, minimalism as well as to Surrealism, the works create a kind of archive; for each show Sasnal chooses a selection of pieces relevant to show's specific concept. Since 1999, when he completed his studies, he has won several significant prizes, including the Van Gogh Prize in Amsterdam in 2006, when he was also included in Flash Art’s list of the hundred foremost young artists in the world.
Sasnal was among the five founders of Ladnie (the word means ‘beauty’), which operated from 1995 to 2001. The group made light of academic painting, which was still prevalent in Poland at the time. Their topics were everyday life as represented by the media.
Over the last decade, Sasnal has held dozens of one-man exhibitions throughout Europe and the US, and participated in many group shows. In 2001, he published the comic book Everyday Life in Poland between 1999-2001. The book covered two years in the artist’s life, and is considered a realistic depiction of life as experienced by the generation born in the 70’s.
His works are exhibited and collected by the Tate Modern in London, Gallery Saatchi, the Pompidou Center, and the MoMA and Guggenheim Museums in New York, as well as in the foremost museums in Poland. (after: http://www.jcva.org/)