Once Upon a Time in Warsaw centres around two Warsaw residents, a mother and a son who have had to leave their home, when they are evicted in November 2013. The story plays out against the background of actual events such as large scale patriotic marches and demonstrations, including the extreme right wing.

The boy, Marky, is between 19-20 years old. He is unemployed and attends the local university, at first he does attempt to study; however, his attention is diverted as he becomes fascinated with watching another student as she scrolls through her Facebook feed in class. This action displays an observation on the radically different economic backgrounds of those students attending the same university. During those times he is not studying, he is looking after this mother by searching for shelter for them both, at times this involves finding abandoned flats. Marky has one romantic connection to a girl named Ola, whose family offers Marky shelter on occasion, even if unwillingly by her father.

The mother is very inactive, dependent on her son to provide her with shelter. She has a drug habit, though this is never acknowledged as being such, for which Marky supplies her with her ‘medicine’. She is dependent on both her son and her government aided finances until the bank closes her account.

The pair travels with their dog, Mate, but owing to strict regulations imposed by the shelters for the homeless, Mate is not allowed overnight admittance. Marky goes so far as calling a vote within the main homeless establishment called ‘The Squat’ in the hope of Mate being allowed to stay the night as his guest. When this attempt fails, Marky leaves Mate in various dog shelters in an attempt to keep him safe and sheltered. Mate manages to always escape these shelters and return to Marky’s side repeatedly, Marky is forced to take drastic and physical actions by beating Mate in order to finally deter him. Once his mother begins enquiring after the dog, Marky begins a journey of trying to find his missing pet, finally succeeding at the end of the film during the riots.

Director: Andrzej Jakimowski
Writer: Andrzej Jakimowski
Main cast: Agata Kulesza, Grzegorz Palkowski, Edward Hogg


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