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    XII edition


    The storm is so powerful it´s not quite obvious where the sky is as opposed to the sea. Somewhere in the midst of it all a cask is bobbing up and down and in it a small boy is lying down seemingly calm. He is smiling as if he knew he´d come to no harm. He is the chosen one, a future Pope who will go down in history as Pope Saint Gregory I. And, above all, if he´d drown now there´d be no story and the film would end even before it started. That is why he didn´t drown and ended up in the hands of a fisherman and thereafter in the hands of the local abbot. The abbot found a letter in his diapers which he then hid in all secrecy and which contained the words:l: „This boy hasn´t been christened because he has been conceived by a brother of noble birth and a sister of similar noble heritage. Allow him, please, to be christened in the Lord´s name. Under his head you´ll find gold which you can use to bring him up and by the legs you´ll find silver which you can use to educate him.“ The youth enjoyed his classes but instead of theology and Latin he rather preferred knightly jousts and girls. And it was because of a local beauty that his origins came into the public domain. He was extremely troubled by being born into such an unwholesome family, but this didn´t last long. He had a local blacksmith make him body armour based on the most recent fashionable graphics, took hold of a large sword and set off for the Holy Land as a form of penitence. To be sure, he never found the Holy Land but he did find a country governed by a mysteriously melancholic, albeit lovely, queen. In any case, one of the main reasons for her melancholy was that her country was beset by war for over twenty years. The town´s citizens and soldiers gaped like some stuck Roman columns when all of a sudden our hero on his ancient dust-covered mare, and adorned with his body armour gleaming like a sport´s car´s bodywork, charged his foe´s army, and chopped the Eastern prince´s head off. With this deed he assured himself of the hand of the gorgeous, albeit melancholy, ruler and as a consequence the royal crown as well. When Gregory went off hunting the queen found the letter the young king had carefully hidden in a wall recess. Yes, it was the very same letter she had written when in indescribable pain she sent the cask adrift into the sea. This tragic discovery didn´t make Gregory lose his sanity and he coolly came to the conclusion that once more he must set off for the Holy Land in penitence. But this time not in a sporty body armour but wearing a sack of potatoes and a broken stick instead of a sword he failed once again to reach the place on account of a fisherman´s wife falling in love with him and the jealous fisherman took him off to a rock in the middle of a lake. There and then his life and this film may have ended were it not for a talking ewe appearing to a cardinal telling him that a new Pope was to be found on a rock in the middle of a lake. And even though Gregory had by now turned into looking like a strange creature resembling a hedgehog rather than a human the prophecy he became Christianity´s new spiritual leader. The entire world, in fact.. One must also mention that the long queue of sinners waiting to be forgiven included the by now aged yet still lovely and melancholy queen. She didn´t recognise her son cum husband as she was humbly staring at the paving stones under her. He recognised her straight away and with a great effort resisted a flood of tears. He only gave away his identity when she had made her confession and forgave her everything. After all, as a saint and ´pappas maximus´ he finally had the right to forgive even the greatest of sinners. They embraced each other and cried with sadness and joy all at the same time.



    Tomasz Mielnik


    Studied art history at the University in  Wrocław. He then moved to Prague and graduated from the Directing department of the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with his film JOURNEY TO ROME. The film premiered at the 50th Karlovy Vary IFF as the opening film of the East of the West section and was later screened at more than twenty film festivals around the world. T.M. made several other films during his studies: ON SUNDAY (2008), MEMORY OF MOTHER (2008) and ANONYMOUS (2009). His documentary short DYRYGENT (2009) was published as a supplement to a book about Zygmund Molik. His BA graduation film, GIRL 180 (2010), was also widely recognized and screened for example at the Molodist Film Festival in Kyiv. In 2013 Tomasz Mielnik participated at the International Filmmaking Academy workshop lead by Bernardo Bertolucci, Gian-Vittorio Baldi and Abbas Kiarostami.


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