Among the films shown in the National Competition at the 56th Krakow Film Festival, there are four interesting, short documentary film productions: "Three Conversations on Life" by Julia Staniszewska, "Daniel" by Anastazja Dąbrowska, "Side Roads" by Julia Sokolnicka and "Science" by Emi Buchwald.

In the film by Julia Staniszewska, "Three Conversations on Life," we witness a family drama, taking place between two adult women: mother and daughter. On one side, the mother, a doctor and an ardent Catholic. On the other side, the daughter, clearly distanced from the faith and away from the Church, a mother of two boys who came into the world due to the IVF method. And it is the dispute about the moral evaluation of IVF which becomes the source of conflict and leads to difficult conversations about love, faith, and the outlook on the world. In the film by Staniszewska we do not feel, even for a moment, that any of the women is assessed and considered worse than the other. A minimalist, almost hidden form does not have any great artistic key, as if the film-makers did not want to additionally complicate things, or to overwhelm this emotional and complex story, which is already loaded enough in itself. Three difficult conversations of the protagonists, emotions unfolding primarily on their faces, these are images of difficult love. Their meaning is universal and close to everyone who is entangled in the whirlpool of uneasy emotions.  Each of us could see here the pictures of their own lives. 

Warm-hearted and humble look at people afflicted by Down's syndrome is presented by Anastazja Dąbrowska in her documentary film study "Daniel." The camera observes the eponymous protagonist during a holiday trip to the sea with a group of friends from the society in Warsaw, which takes care of learning disabled people. During the camp, the protagonists experience problems common to all people. We experience their love dilemmas, crushes and friendships. The film by Dąbrowska does not try to artificially sweeten things or to embellish the protagonists' lives. In conversations with his closest friend, Daniel has to face difficult questions. When during one of the discussions he confesses that he wants to live differently, his friend immediately answers with a question: "You want to live differently, because...?" The conversation ends without reaching any conclusions. At the same time, the film-maker tries to capture, from the world of Daniel for us, that which is its greatest value - the ability to experience everything in a stronger, deeper and more sincere way.

An interesting portrait of the protagonists is sketched in "Side Roads" by Julia Sokolnicka.  Her miniature road movie is a collage of images which are the records of landscapes of Poland, seen through car windows. The camera records the outskirts of big cities, Polish towns and villages. The views of the roadside, full of kitsch and many-coloured billboards, are accompanied by the conversations with the drivers. Some of them spend most of their life driving. What are they talking about? About everything, about Poles and the homeland (…they are sad, angry, but there is nothing to be happy about…),  about personal experiences, dreams, problems, loneliness and their past lives. The car acts as a confessional, and the camera - as the confessor.

In turn, the starting point of the film "Science" by Emi Buchwald is the eponymous poem by Julian Tuwim, which the children from a primary school have to learn by heart.  The protagonists' parents come to their aid, we look inside their homes and listen to a wide range of interpretations. Some make use of the Internet and study aids, some try to filter the poet's words through their own world-view, others consider the task only as a school duty - learn by it heart, pass the test and forget about it. However, in all cases the poem is a reason for conversation and exchange of ideas, even if one of the parents is in a hurry to watch the second half of the match by his favourite football team.  It is pleasant to rest like this and talk about the poem, sums up one of the boys.