Get ready for a deluge of new films from Poland’s Małgorzata Szumowska. 2019 saw her English language debut The Other Lamb (read review) bow at TIFF, but the busy director looks to have two new projects premiering in 2020 (and just began to receive funding for another project on top of these two, A Kind of Longing, which should be a likely 2021 release). The first title on our list, but likely second to premiere, is Wonder Zenia – previously known as Masseur (Masazysta), produced by Agnieszka Wasiak and Mariusz Włodarski for Lava Films, and Viola Fügen and Michael Weber for Match Factory Productions. The project stars Alec Utgoff, Agata Kulesza, Maja Ostaszewska, Weronika Rosati and Katarzyna Figura. Szumowska’s 2004 title Ono competed in Sundance’s World Dramatic program and her 2008 title 33 Scenes from a Life won a Special Jury Prize in Locarno. Her 2011 Elles, starring Juliette Binoche, received critical acclaim abroad following a TIFF premiere and 2013 brought her to compete for the Golden Bear in Berlin with In the Name Of… which won the Teddy. She returned to Berlin 2015 with Body, winning Best Director and again in 2018 with Mug, winning the Special Jury Prize.
Gist: Our hero Zenia is an industrious Ukrainian migrant worker in Poland – a masseur who makes house calls to the needy and aspirational residents of a middle class gated community near Warsaw. He is privy to all of their problems, anxieties and secrets – and something of an unwitting guru figure. Zenia’s grounded spirituality, apparent healing powers and broad shoulders make him an object of lust for many of the lost souls in the community.
Release Date/Prediction: An October 2020 release has been slated for Wonder Zenia in Poland, so we’re thinking Szumowska may be hitting the fall festival circuit, most likely TIFF, depending on what happens with programming of her other 2020 title, All Inclusive.