IN THE NAME OF and director Malgoska Szumowska

“A local community of a Polish village, that is soaked with Catholicism to the marrow, would probably tacitly accept his affairs with women, but they will never accept “a queer”. In The Name Of is a film about Church institution that is a system full of bans and commands, a system that is collapsing. A film about longing for love, the search of love against this system and about rebelling in the name of love.
But it also shows, that in such situation, there is no “good solution”.
Father Adam In Bed
Ex-Catholic writer/director Malgoska Szumowska’s latest film, In The Name Of, has it’s cinema release this weekend.It is a daring yet understated film, thoughtfully depicting the life of Father Adam (Andrzej Chyra), a closeted priest who is sent from Warsaw to rural Poland, where he sets up a centre for difficult boys in a small town. Here he falls for Lukasz (Mateusz Kosciukiewicz), one of the young men in the town who has a quieter, more introverted demeanour than the others.

Malgoska used a mixture of trained actors and local non-actors to construct the naturalistic feel of the film, working with the amateurs in a documentary fashion to get them used to the camera and forget its presence, and to bring out their own personalities.  The lead couple, however, are trained and well known Polish actors who Malgoska, with her writing partner (and cinematographer Michal Englert) had in mind to play the roles from the film’s inception.

The director chose to make a film that in her own words is about ‘this feeling of somehow being torn from the inside, a feeling of being unfulfilled in contacts with other people, this great longing for something strong and powerful’. She explains that the film is not essentially a “gay film” but a film that tackles wider issues in Polish society, exploring love in a setting of intolerance and repression, that hopefully all can relate to: ‘In Poland, we still have a problem with accepting differences and manifestations of being different’ she explains.

Of course, the rural setting is important in order to provide a background of small-minded social pressure, in which everybody is aware of each other’s business. It was important for Malgoska not to set the film in a city because it would be ‘saying less about Poland ’. She states that ‘Polish provinces make up 80% or more of [Polish] society’, and therefore she wanted to highlight a particular dangerous aspect of a country still heavily steeped in Catholicism.

When asked if she is afraid of controversy, in wake of the 120,000 ticket sell out in the first 10 days in Warsaw, Malgoska responds: ‘I’m curious…What I wouldn’t like, is a cheap sensation, bunch of shouters, that’s for sure. I’d prefer I serious discussion. In Poland, we still have a problem with accepting differences and manifestations of being different. The society still calls itself being 90% catholic, and unfortunately, very often it’s a synonym of being closed. I think, that this film may be an important voice in a discussion.’