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For years, the Nowak and Kowalski families have been embroiled in a vendetta governed by the cyclical law of blood and honour. When the Nowaks’ son dies at the hand of Klara Kowalska, his sister is chosen to avenge his death. Pressured by family and the community she starts to hunt Klara. When the confrontation occurs, Ewa is faced with a choice between carrying out the revenge and her own life and freedom.
Visual artist, director and screenwriter, Piotr Adamski graduated Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan and Wajda School in Warsaw. He is a laureate of the Samsung Art Master Award and two-time holder of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage scholarship. He made his directorial debut in 2016 with short film The Opening. His feature debut Eastern received Journalists’ Award at the Koszalin Film Debut Festival „Youth and Film” in 2019.
Film Review: Eastern is a tale of a sister carrying out the revenge killing of another girl in her neighbourhood, who was responsible for the death of her brother. Ewa has been tasked by her strictly patriarchal community with avenging her brother’s death by slaying Klara, his young murderer. However, this act of vengeance does not go according to the traditional order of things. Piotr Adamski’s debut feature has been favourably compared to Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth, and like the latter it details the absurdities of a conservative cultural landscape in a microcosm. Eastern is even subversive in its title, as it merges the atmosphere and genre framing of a classic Sergio Leone revenge western with the coolly calibrated formal rigour of a particular type of contemporary European auteur cinema. This award-winning Polish film clearly has the contemporary populist political moment in Poland, and elsewhere, very much in its cross-hairs. Pitting tradition against modernity, patriarchy against feminism, order against insurgency, it offers us a portrait in miniature of a culture in crisis, recklessly rushing toward its own oblivion. Rohan Crickmar