Marcin Bortkiewicz is a cinema and theatre director, actor and screenwriter from Poland. He was born in Słupsk in 1976, where he grew up with his mother and grandmother — an element that contributes to the delicacy with which he will later describe his female characters. He was fascinated by cinema from a young age, particularly by Charlie Chaplin’s films, and he decided to become a director after reading the biography of Roman Polanski in which the filmmaker had written: “For as far back as I can remember, the line between fantasy and reality has been hopelessly blurred…”. He started as a theatre actor and director, profession to which he dedicated eleven years of his life, working mainly at Teathre Rondo in Słupsk, Theatre Bogusłwaki in Kadisz and Ecce Homo in Kielce.
He wrote and directed numerous plays and tv shows. He also studied Polish philology at the University of Gdańsk before being accepted into Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing in Warsaw, where he graduated in 2005. In 2009 he took part in the project Dekalog 89+, directing the short film The lodger, where he illustrates the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. In 2013 he directed the documentary The Left Side of the Face, which explores the work of a photographer.
His short film Drawn From Memory, produced by Studio Munk and supported by the Polish Film Insitute, in which he collaborated with famous polish actresses Małgorzata Zajączkowska and Irena Jun, was selected to be screened at the Director’s Forthnight (Quinzaine des Réalizateurs) at the Cannes film festival in 2012. Also presented during the seventh edition of our Short Film Festival, the story is told from a young filmmaker’s point of point of view, who has to cope with his grandmother’s dementia with the help of his mother. The elderly woman is convinced to have been a great actress when she was young, so the filmmaker decides to go along with her fantasy and uses his video equipment reenact some of the scenes which have characterized the history of cinema.
His first feature film, Walpurgius night, through a tone that constantly fluctuates between the comic and the tragic, tells the love story between a diva and a young journalist and the tension suspended between violence and tenderness of this relationship. This film received the prize for best scenography, best actress, the audience award, journalists award and young jury award at the Koszalin Film Festival. He also received an award for “The longest applause” at the Gdynia film festival.
Marcin Bortkiewicz’s cinema, often reminiscent of his theatrical experiences, explores the power of imagination in all its forms: on the thread of a subtle black humor, with almost surreal elements, reality and fantasy, true life and lyricism, comedy and the grotesque, everything contributes to forming a personal aesthetic in the description of human dramas, of which often the protagonists are artists, actors or singers.