The action in Adrian Panek’s second feature film takes place in the summer of 1945. After their liberation from the Gross-Rosen camp, eight children are placed in a temporary orphanage in an abandoned palace surrounded by a thick forest. Their caretaker is 20-old Hanka (Sonia Mierielica, in a hypnotizing performance), herself a former inmate. In the aftermath of the camp and its atrocities, the children slowly attempt to gather up what’s left of their lost childhood, but the horror of the camp quickly catches up with them. The Alsatian dogs released by the Nazis before the liberation of Gross-Rosen start to roam the surrounding forests. The starving, feral animals besiege the palace in search of food, and a survival instinct is triggered once again in the terrified children. Panek’s film is a pastiche of period piece, horror film and dark fairytale. One can see the inspiration drawn from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, filtered through Panek’s sensibility. The allegorical Werewolf is cinema of suspense and discomfort—it keeps the viewer perpetually on the edge of their seat. Following up on his impressive debut Daas, it’s further evidence of Adrian Panek as a fresh and exciting new voice in Polish cinema.
Sonia Mietielica, Kamil Polnisiak, Nicolas Przygoda, Danuta Stenka, Krzysztof Durski