The Polish Highlanders Association of Canada was recently honoured to co-present the screening of the film The Gorals at the 10th Toronto Polish Film Festival.
The documentary film is set in Podhale – the mountainous region of Poland inhabited by Polish Highlanders. This ethnic group is one of the most distinct in Europe, with their own unmistakable style of dress, economic trade, construction, culture and folklore. The film tells the stories of four men, each carrying out age-old, traditional professions such as wheelwright, lumberjack and bagpipe constructor. It seeks answers to the current and pressing question of how these people manage to reconcile their Highland culture with the modern world.
The Gorals (Górale) are no strangers to Canada, and in particular Ontario where many reside around Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton and have established organizations such as The Polish Highlanders Association of Canada (celebrating its 40th year) to help maintain their connection to their unique folk culture of song, dance, art, architecture and language. For many within the Goral community around Toronto, as well as our own Ekran team, the documentary will hit close to home as family connections shine on screen for this Canadian premier.
Director Filip Luft’s film beautifully captures Polish highlanders as they perform the same professions their ancestors did over the past several centuries. From shepherds to craftsmen, characters are shaped when confronted with nature, inaccessible mountains, weather changes and animals. The Tatra mountains become more than just a silent observer of our heroes. Around the mountains, everything changes and they stand and maintain, unshaken.
The film screened on November 18th at Cine Starz Mississauga and was followed by a Q & A hosted by Anna Cyzon (Czyszczon) with special guest and producer Maciej Pawelczyk. To learn more, click here.