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Amsterdam Polish Film Festival 2023

Amsterdam Polish Film Festival 2023

Looking East – Understanding Central Europe

This year, the two-day film festival will encompass the history and current development in Central Europe, a theme bigger than ever before. By examining the history of Central Europe, you will gain a broader perspective on the current developments in and around Ukraine. This provides a local viewpoint through retrospection. During the festival, you’ll have the chance to acquaint yourself with the situations in Poland and Ukraine during the communist era and witness the impact on the ongoing war since 2014 on the local population. In addition to films and debates, there will be meet-and-greet sessions with filmmakers and other experts in the field. This offers a unique opportunity to form a comprehensive understanding of the developments in central Europe.

7 Oktober | Russian domination

Both Poland and Ukraine have experienced periods of domination by Moscow. Ukraine became part of the USSR, with the dark episode of the Holodomor, the systematic starvation of the Ukrainian people under Stalin. Poland was initially invaded by the Soviets in 1939 and later became part of the communist power bloc after World War II.

How do these Central European countries currently perceive the East and Russia?

This question will be addressed through two true-story films: ‘Mr Jones’ (Agnieszka Holland, 2019), focusing on the Holodomor, and ‘Jack Strong’ (Władysław Pasikowski, 2014), which follows a Polish colonel who spied for the CIA.

The panel discussion will explore Russia’s oversight during the depicted period in the films and its influence on Poland’s development, along with their contemporary perspective on Russia. Panel members will include:

  • Barbara Malak-Minkiewicz was actively involved in the anti-communist movement in Poland.
  • Matt Steinglass , Europe correspondent for The Economist.
  • Anne-Lise Bobeldijk, post-doctoral researcher at Wageningen University and Research

Info & tickets: de Balie

8 Oktober | The war in Ukraine

This day will illustrate recent Ukrainian history through a film and documentary, delving into the impact of war on its people.

The Ukrainian film ‘Klondike’ (Maryna Er Gorbach, 2022) depicts the war in the Donbas region and the downing of MH17, an event that has directly impacted many Dutch lives due to the presence of Dutch passengers on the plane.

The documentary ‘The Hamlet Syndrome’ (Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski, 2022) portrays a group of young people preparing a play, revealing their personal experiences with the war and resulting traumas, which they slowly embody on stage. It offers an intimate and moving exploration.

Filmmakers Elwira Niewiera and Maryna Er Gorbach will be present during the panel discussions.

The film festival is organised by Stiching Polish Culture NL in collaboration with Debate centrum De Balie.

Info & tickets: de Balie


The festival is made possible by the support of various partners.


“Project financed from the funds of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister within the framework of the competition Polonia and Poles Abroad 2023”..