The Mask (2018)

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German title The mask
Original title Twarz
Country of production Poland
original language Polish
Publishing year 2018
length 92 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Małgorzata Szumowska
script Małgorzata Szumowska,
Michał Englert
production Małgorzata Szumowska,
Michał Englert,
Jacek Drosio
music Adam Walicki
camera Michał Englert
cut Jacek Drosio

The Mask (original title: Twarz ) is a Polish film drama by the director Małgorzata Szumowska , which premiered on February 23, 2018 in the competition at the Berlin International Film Festival . It tells the true story of a young outsider in the Polish provinces who underwent the country's first face transplant after a construction site accident . The film was awarded the Silver Bear / Grand Jury Prize at the Berlinale .


Jacek really only wants to leave the provincial Polish town of Świebodzin , where he grew up. The stuffy and bigoted environment, especially the dear relatives, is a very unpleasant, racist bunch - with the exception of his sister. Somebody like him, who listens to heavy metal, comes under suspicion of Satanism. Unfortunately, he lacks the money for a new life, his escape to London with his girlfriend Dagmara remains only a dream for the time being. That is why Jacek is working on the large construction site nearby, where the world's largest statue of Jesus, 36 meters high, is to be built.

A serious accident at work brings his life out of balance. Jacek accidentally falls inside the hollow statue and barely gets away with his life. After his face was completely disfigured, Jacek was given his first face transplant in the country, with great interest from the Polish public. Celebrated as a national hero and martyr, he does not recognize himself in the mirror.

When Jacek returns to the village, he remains an outsider. His mother complains to the pastor about this “other” and asks for an exorcism, Dagmara doesn't want to know anything more about him, the children run past him and just call him “pig face”.

In the end, Jacek gets on a bus and drives away.


  • The statue of Jesus in Świebodzin actually exists. It was completed in 2010 and was financed exclusively through donations.
  • The look of the film was alienated by means of the so-called tilt-shift aesthetic, in which parts of the image remain blurred. As a result, the scenery often looks like a toy landscape.


  • Hannah Pilarczyk writes on Spiegel online : "... satire is seldom as tender and melancholy as Szumowska develops her social criticism here."
  • Andreas Busche writes in the Tagesspiegel : "The strength of Szumowska's film is that it shows the insanity that is currently going on in Poland with sovereign casualness."
  • Thierry Chervel writes in Perlentaucher : "Salted with strong humor, but basically serious and intelligent."
  • For Nino Klingler from the weekly newspaper Der Freitag , “The Mask” is a film that “should like to be even worse”. He criticizes an "unclear positioning" because "any satirical escalation is quickly dampened by a loving character drawing".
  • Moritz Holfelder from BR discovers a “visually powerful teaching piece that jumps wildly between almost documentary recordings and surreally bizarre moments” in “The Mask”.


  • 68th Berlinale 2018 - Silver Bear: Grand Jury Prize
  • Off Camera International Festival of Independent Cinema Krakow - Best Polish Film, Best Actor

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for the mask . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry (PDF; test number: 187362 / K). Template: FSK / maintenance / type not set and Par. 1 longer than 4 characters
  2. Hannah Pilarczyk: Poland satire "The mask": On the face . In: Spiegel Online . March 13, 2019 ( [accessed November 2, 2019]).
  3. Poland has the biggest. Retrieved November 2, 2019 .
  4. Film review of “Twarz” by Malgorzata Szumowska Competition Berlinale 2018 - Out of breath: The Berlinale Blog. Retrieved November 2, 2019 .
  5. Film - Jesus looks away. Retrieved November 2, 2019 .
  6. The film "The Mask" is a vicious social satire. March 15, 2019, accessed November 2, 2019 .