11 Minutes

Poland-Ireland 2015, 81 mins
Director: Jerzy Skolimowski

Skolimowski’s formidable conceptual and technical skills get their most intensive workout here, as initially unconnected stories (an attempted seduction, a crime, a chase, a painting in progress) gradually and then emphatically come together. The film is so formally virtuosic that serious themes about surveillance and technology play second fiddle to the sensuous pleasure of watching a master filmmaker at work.

‘11 Minutes’ reviewed at the Gdynia Film Festival
It’s notable that the most inventive and challenging film in the main competition was directed by a septuagenarian veteran of the Polish New Wave: Skolimowski’s 11 Minutes. Its ‘Special Jury Award for an original artistic concept’ seemed a grudging tribute to a film that left many viewers nonplussed, but this characteristically high-concept puzzle film functions as a celebration and critique of mainstream film narrative. Each intersecting narrative chronicles a crucial 11 minutes in the lives of protagonists whose schemes go perilously awry. A lascivious American producer’s attempt to seduce an actress auditioning for a role proves futile – especially since her possessive husband looms in the background. This parody of a casting-couch scenario is a catalyst for a string of inept ruses and capers: a paedophile hot-dog vendor plies his trade and catches the interest of decidedly impious-seeming nuns; several varieties of ineptitude are captured in the frustrated escapades of a student trying to pull off a robbery and a drug courier whose hedonistic exploits nearly hand him his comeuppance. In a facetious version of one of Griffith’s last-minute chase-and-rescue sequences, a team of paramedics must fend off a violent psychotic before coming to the rescue of a pregnant woman and a man in the throes of death.

While some critics denounced the film as either ‘nihilistic’ or a maze of shaggy dog stories, 11 Minutes can be viewed as an exuberant distillation of a zany assortment of stock movie climaxes – a canny evisceration of the soothing virtues of ‘narrative closure’ in cinema. It’s also a gleeful riposte to the grating ‘We Are the World’ sensibility of portmanteau narratives such as Iñárritu’s Babel and Paul Haggis’s Crash. Only a filmmaker with a masterful grasp of storytelling could demolish the rudiments of cinematic technique with such panache.
Richard Porton, Sight and Sound, December 2015

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski
Production Companies: Skopia Film, Element Pictures
Executive Producers: Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Eileen Tasca, Jeremy Thomas, Marek Zydowicz
Producers: Ewa Piaskowska, Jerzy Skolimowski
Casting: Pawel Czajor
Screenplay: Jerzy Skolimowski
Director of Photography: Mikolaj Lebkowksi
Editor: Agnieszka Glinska
Production Design: Joanna Kaczynska, Wojciech Zogala
Costume Designer: Kalina Lach
Music: Pawel Mykietyn
Sound Recordist: Alan Scully

Richard Dormer (Director Richard Martin)
Paulina Chapko (Anna Hellman)
Wojciech Mecwaldowski (Anna’s husband)
Andrzej Chyra (hot-dog vendor)
Dawid Ogrodnik (courier)
Agata Buzek, Piotr Glowacki (climbers)
Jan Nowicki (painter)
Mateusz Kosciukiewicz (ex-boyfriend)
Anna Maria Buczek (Doctor Ewa Król)
Lukasz Sikora (boy)
Ifi Ude (girl with a dog)
Grazyna Blecka-Kolska (pregnant woman)
Janusz Chabior (dying man)

Poland-Ireland 2015
81 mins

Jerzy Skolimowski in Conversation
Tue 28 March 18:30
The Shout
Tue 28 March 20:45 (+ intro by Jerzy Skolimowski); Wed 5 Apr 20:55; Fri 28 Apr 18:30
Walkover (Walkower)
Wed 29 Mar 18:20 (+ Q&A with Jerzy Skolimowski); Sat 8 Apr 18:10
Wed 29 Mar 20:45 (+ intro by Jerzy Skolimowski); Sun 9 Apr 13:00; Sat 15 Apr 18:20
Hands Up! (Reçe do góry)
Fri 31 Mar 20:45; Mon 10 Apr 15:40
Barrier (Bariera)
Sat 1 Apr 18:20; Tue 4 Apr 20:50 (+ intro by season curator Michael Brooke)
Sat 1 Apr 20:50; Wed 5 Apr 18:20; Fri 21 Apr 20:50; Sat 22 Apr 18:20; Thu 27 Apr 20:45
Dialogue 20-40-60 (Dialóg 20-40-60)
Sun 2 Apr 12:30; Sat 15 Apr 20:45
Deep End
Sun 2 Apr 15:40; Mon 10 Apr 18:30; Wed 19 Apr 20:55
Le Départ
Sun 2 Apr 18:30; Mon 17 Apr 20:40
Identification Marks: None (Rysopis)
Mon 3 Apr 21:00; Sun 9 Apr 18:40
Outsider and Exile
Tue 4 Apr 18:15
The Lightship
Sat 8 Apr 12:15; Fri 14 Apr 20:40
11 Minutes (11 minut)
Sun 16 Apr 12:30; Sat 29 Apr 20:30
Four Nights with Anna (Cztery noce z Anna)
Sun 23 Apr 12:40; Fri 28 Apr 20:50
Essential Killing
Sun 23 Apr 18:40; Sat 29 Apr 14:40

In cultural partnership with

9 Mar-27 Apr kinoteka.org.uk

Proud partners of the BFI’s Jerzy Skolimowski season. Show valid BFI ticket and enjoy 20% off your bill at Mamuśka!

EO will be available on BFI DVD and Blu-ray from 3 April (available to pre-order at the BFI shop)
Identification Marks: None and Hands Up! will be available on a 2-disc BFI Blu-ray from 24 April

Walkover and Barrier will be released on Blu-ray by Second Run later this year

Never miss an issue with Sight and Sound, the BFI’s internationally renowned film magazine. Subscribe from just £25*
*Price based on a 6-month print subscription (UK only). More info: sightandsoundsubs.bfi.org.uk

Welcome to the home of great film and TV, with three cinemas and a studio, a world-class library, regular exhibitions and a pioneering Mediatheque with 1000s of free titles for you to explore. Browse special-edition merchandise in the BFI Shop.We're also pleased to offer you a unique new space, the BFI Riverfront – with unrivalled riverside views of Waterloo Bridge and beyond, a delicious seasonal menu, plus a stylish balcony bar for cocktails or special events. Come and enjoy a pre-cinema dinner or a drink on the balcony as the sun goes down.

Enjoy a great package of film benefits including priority booking at BFI Southbank and BFI Festivals. Join today at bfi.org.uk/join

We are always open online on BFI Player where you can watch the best new, cult & classic cinema on demand. Showcasing hand-picked landmark British and independent titles, films are available to watch in three distinct ways: Subscription, Rentals & Free to view.

See something different today on player.bfi.org.uk

Join the BFI mailing list for regular programme updates. Not yet registered? Create a new account at www.bfi.org.uk/signup

Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email