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Essential Killing

Jerzy Skolimowski
Poland, Norway, Ireland, Hungary 2010 / 83’

Jerzy Skolimowski provokes again. He combines varies opposites in the story of Mohammad – an Afghan prisoner who escapes while being transported to a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe. Essential Killing elevates an individual’s perspective over big politics; the beautiful landscape becomes an arena for a brutal fight for survival, and violent emotions are shown in a distant way. Skolimowski stands on the sidelines and does not suggest any interpretation. He wishes to leave the audience one-on-one with the protagonist. Mohammed is ruthless; he kills random people who stand in his way. He knows perfectly that only this attitude can ensure his survival. With this uncomfortable truth Essential Killing confuses, fascinates and frightens at every turn.


Venice IFF 2010 – Special Jury Award, Best Actor; Mar Del Plata IFF 2010 – Best Film; Gdynia Polish FF 2011 – Best Film

Jerzy Skolimowski

Born in 1938 in Lodz, is one of the most important figures of Polish cinema. Director of more than 20 movies since the beginning of the 60's, he have created many masterpices of history, in Poland (Identification Marks: None, Walkover, Barrier), in Belgium (Le départ), in the United-Kingdom (Deep End, Moonlighting) and in the United-States (Lightship). His movie Four Nights with Anna, shot in Poland in 2008, marked the return of a cinema master.


1964 Rysopis / Identification Marks: None

1965 Walkower / Walkover

1966 Bariera / Barrier

1967 Ręce do góry / Hands Up

1967 Start / Le départ

1970 Na samym dnie / Deep End

1982 Fucha / Moonlighting

1985 Latarniowiec / Lightship

1991 Ferdydurke / 30 Door Key

2008 Cztery noce z Anną / Four Nights with Anna

2010 Essential Killing

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Cast & Crew

director Jerzy Skolimowski
screenplay Jerzy Skolimowski, Ewa Piaskowska
cinematography Adam Sikora
editing Réka Lemhényi, Maciej Pawliński
music Paweł Mykietyn
cast Vincent Gallo, Emmanuelle Seigner, Phillip Goss
producer József Berger, Ingrid Lil Høgtun, Jerzy Skolimowski, Ewa Piaskowska
production Skopia Film, Cylinder Production, Element Picture, Mythberg Films, Canal+, Syrena Films
Polish distributor Syrena Films
language English, Polish, Arabic
colouration colour