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Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015: #16. Jerzy Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes

11 Minutes

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski // Writer: Jerzy Skolimowski

Esteemed Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski began his directorial career in the late 60’s, but gained international acclaim outside of his native film system, dipping into the French/Belgian production of The Departure (1967), headlined by Jean-Pierre Leaud (and winning the director the Golden Berlin Bear), before helming a trio of infamous UK productions starting with 1970’s iconic Deep End, an adaptation of Nabokov’s King, Queen, Knave (1972) and the mystical genre film The Shout (1978) featuring Alan Bates and John Hurt. Skolimowski would compete at Cannes five times, winning the Grand Jury prize twice, for The Shout and 1982’s Moonlighting. And then three rounds in Venice would nab him two more Jury Prizes, for The Lightship (1985) and Essential Killing (2010). Skolimowski was assumed to have retired after a hiatus dating from 1991’s 30 Door Key, but broke his silence with 2008’s Four Nights With Anna, followed by Essential Killing, an exquisite dialogue free film starring Vincent Gallo as an Afghan POW. He’s back on another thriller, 11 Minutes, filming in Poland and Ireland and starring Agata Buzek of Krzysztof Zanussi’s Foreign Body (2014) and Richard Dormer of ’71 (2014) and “Game of Thrones.” (One should note that Skolimowski often makes acting appearances, including Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises and Joss Whedon’s The Avengers). A thriller, the film follows the same 11 minutes in the lives of several different characters – young and old, prosperous and destitute.

Cast: Agara Buzek, Richard Dormer, Dawid Ogrodnik

Producers: Skopia Film’s Ewa Piaskowska (Essential Killing), Element Pictures’ Andrew Lowe and Ed Guiney (Room)

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available.

Release Date: Skolimowski’s return to filmmaking garnered him a slot in the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes 2008 while 2012’s Essential Killing went to Venice. Principal photography began back in September, so there’s no reason why this wouldn’t be at Cannes, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see the title slotted once again into a sidebar.

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Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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