Twarz (Mug) press conference with director Malgorzata Szumowska and actor Mateusz Kościukiewicz and co-stars
Director Malgorzata Szumowska has delivered a bitingly funny entry to the competition at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Twarz (Mug) is the story of Jacek (Mateusz Kościukiewicz) who becomes the recipient of Poland’s first ever face transplant, forcing an understandably fundamental shift in his life. It sounds bleak, but the film is packed with off-kilter humour and a not-all-that subtle jab at attitudes in contemporary Poland. The director and her cast spoke with the press ahead of the movie’s world premiere.
When it was suggested that her film’s astounding opening sequence was perhaps a comment about the end of communism in Poland, the director said, “Absolutely right. This is a kind of allegory for what happened in Poland after 89. It’s a kind of desire, which we still have, to get material things. It’s a hunger for having material things, for having money. Maybe it will change with the next generations, but something like this still exists in Poland, because we’ve only had 25 years of capitalism and democracy. This is for sure a metaphor for that.”
Mateusz Kościukiewicz spends the second half of the movie acting under prosthetic makeup after Jacek receives his face transplant, and when talking about the challenge of performing in this way, he said, “The interesting thing I found was it was like I could hide. I could express myself with extreme emotion, but nobody could see this, and I didn’t need to be shy about what I was doing.”
The director continued: “Behind the mask he was crying – he was overacting; something I hate as a director. But the mask stopped all this so that everything was concentrated in his eyes. And I think this is interesting. But they spent four hours each day doing that makeup. The guy who prepared that mask in London, he said that the longest period an actor can stay in the mask is seven hours. And in Poland we are shooting something like 15 hours a day, and so he just spent 15 hours a day in the mask. And it was only a Polish guy who could manage that!”
Twarz (Mug) does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.