Izabela Plucińska began her training at the Łódź Film School, where she made three short films: Studnia (Backyard, 1999), Dubler (Twin, 2001) and Po drugiej stronie (On the other side, 2002). These films display, in embryo, Plucińska’s approach to plasticine: deliberately crudely-modelled figures that allow the characters to change their shapes in a space and time where the lines between reality and evocation are blurred. In 2005, thanks to a scholarship that allowed her to move to Germany and attend the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, she graduated with the short film Jam Session, based on the play of the same name by Maciej Zenon Bordowicz. The film was awarded with the Silver Bear in the Berlinale Short Film Competition, putting Plucińska on the radar of several international festivals such as the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and the Warsaw Film Festival.
In 2006, together with Jamila Wenske, she founded an independent production company called ClayTraces. Since then, she made a dozen short films that show a growing maturity in the use of a material tangible yet challenging to master such as plasticine. A stationary camera, a glass top, and grooves in the plasticine which, warming up under the fingers that shape it, is moulded into bas-reliefs and two-dimensional figures. One of the recurring subjects in Izabela Plucińska’s filmography is coupledom, with its mix of tenderness, irony, intimacy but also of quarrels and obstacles to overcome. Her “trilogy of everyday life”, composed of Sniadanie (Breakfast, 2006), Popoludnie (Afternoon, 2012) and Abend (Evening, 2016), is a portrayal of how the normality of a relationship can, through unpredictable events, bring to light the true meaning of sharing and love. This topic is taken to the extreme in Sexy Laundry (2016), a tongue-in-cheek depiction of a couple’s original attempt to rekindle, after twenty-five years of marriage, the sexual spark of their early days. Other films, such as 7 More Minutes (2007), Marathon (2008) – co-directed with Špela Čadež, to whom Bergamo Film Meeting dedicated a complete retrospective in 2018 – and the medium-length film Esterhazy (2009) portray a dream-like dimension: the characters move in a suspended time, initially distressed then completely free from all worries.
During these months of ongoing pandemic, Izabela has been working on a new short film that has allowed her to dabble with a technique that is new to her, i.e. charcoal sketching. Against a piercing red backdrop, 98kg delves into the issue of domestic abuse experienced by a woman by the hands of her husband, a toxic trap where those 98 kilos is the weight of the violence she is forced to endure. At the moment, the Polish filmmaker is also working on the production of a medium-length film (30″) in which, returning to Claymation, she will adapt the novel Joko fête son anniversaire by Roland Topor, an illustrator and playwright who had already inspired her Portrait en Pied de Suzanne (Portrait of Suzanne, 2019). Kafkaesque narratives that come alive thanks to Izabela Plucińska’s signature style, with a nod to Jan Švankmajer, one of the masters by whom her works are largely inspired.
With the patronage of the Polish Institute in Rome and in collaboration with ClayTraces and the Krakow Film Foundation.
The retrospective includes the complete works as a European preview.