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Netflix’s First Polish-Language Original Series is in the Works

The streaming company will team up with acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland for the Cold War thriller.
By  · Published on September 13th, 2017

The streaming company will team up with acclaimed director Agnieszka Holland for the Cold War thriller.

Netflix is now widely known for spending heaps of money on original content and is continuing to branch out in a landmark way. The streaming service is developing its first Polish-language original series, as yet untitled, with Oscar-nominated director Agnieszka Holland (Spoor, In Darkness) behind the wheel of the production.

The company has copped plenty of heat in the past for its exorbitant spending on programming, with an estimate of $6 billion being spent in 2017 alone. Company CFO David Wells’ recent comments to The Hollywood Reporter regarding potential “budget constraint” in seeking out future projects seems inapplicable to the new series — and indeed an array of local-language productions. Of course, that could be a positive thing. If anything, Netflix is making a concerted effort to diversify its catalog more broadly, and it may at least prove culturally lucrative in the long run.

The new series will reportedly depict an ‘alternate history’ version of the Cold War, set in 2002 — 20 years after a terrorist attack that kept the Iron Curtain from falling. In the show’s present, an idealistic law student and a disgraced police officer uncover a conspiracy that could shatter the illusory peace alt-timeline Poland has experienced for two decades. Cue ultra secretive government officials fighting to cover it up.

It seems that everyone is trying to get on the ‘alternate history’ train, for better or worse. Per Holland:

“We are really happy that we’ll be able to combine the wonderful experience of the Netflix team, our great American producers and writer, with Polish talent and a Polish sensibility.”

And what better way to get acquainted with said “Polish sensibility” by taking a look at what Netflix currently has to offer. Here is just some Polish-language content already on the platform for your viewing pleasure:

Jack Strong (2014)

A Cold War thriller in its own right, Jack Strong has been compared to a John le Carré novel more than once. It is a dramatic retelling of the actions of a real life anti-Soviet spy who fed state secrets to NATO between 1972 and 1981. Sporting local talent but undoubtedly getting a lot of marketing pull from an international co-star like Patrick Wilson, this cat-and-mouse chase period piece is “full of high stakes and high treason,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

11 Minutes (2015)

11 Minutes served as the Polish entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. Although it was not eventually nominated, it proves to be one of director Jerzy Skolimowski’s more experimental works. As the title almost too clearly states, the movie portrays eleven minutes of the lives of several characters, all seemingly disconnected from one another. Seen from a variety of perspectives including surveillance footage and web cameras, the movie paints an unsettling picture with “overriding Big Brother vibe,” and nothing is as straightforward as it seems.

All These Sleepless Nights (2016)

A coming-of-age drama touted by Indiewire as “the movie that Terrence Malick has been trying to make,” All These Sleepless Nights follows the lives of two Polish art students wandering the streets of Warsaw. Their lives play out before the camera, with romantic exploits and confused feelings being the main crux of the film. It’s one of those movies where nothing and everything purportedly happens simultaneously. The film’s drifting and fleeting nature certainly “gives us plenty of time to ponder [lead actor] Bagiński’s head from every angle, and to a lesser degree, the thoughts flickering inside it.” (Variety)

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)