Archive of films Chemo / Chemia

2015, 105 min

Section: East of the West - Competition
Year: 2015

After a nontraditional romance blossoms between Benek and Lena, a young couple immersed in questions of life and death, they decide to defy the natural order by having a baby. A mournful yet lightly-rendered tale about the search for identity, finding love, and the battle against a fatal illness that is nearly impossible to win.


Fashion photographer Benek is facing personal and professional crises and his thoughts are on suicide. But before he gets around to it, he meets an eccentric girl who understands and shares his obsession with death. They embark on a carefree romance until Benek wakes up to the harsh reality that Lena has cancer and doesn’t want to seek treatment. Their situation is further complicated when Lena unexpectedly becomes pregnant and, despite the doctors’ prognosis, the couple decide to go through with the pregnancy. The debuting Polish director dedicated the film to his wife who died of cancer in 2012. While the story draws on the filmmaker’s own traumatic experiences, it is not autobiographical, but instead carries a more universal message that love is the only thing which helps a person live. Prokopowicz imaginatively incorporates animated segments to lighten up the inevitable tragic tone of the film, while its melancholy yet playful spirit is further enhanced by sensitive and remarkably convincing performances from Agnieszka Żulewska and Tomasz Schuchardt.

Kamila Dolotina

About the director

Bartek Prokopowicz (b. 1972, Łódź, Poland) studied film photography at the Polish National Film School in Łódź (1995). He has made more than a hundred programmes for Polish and foreign television companies. He was involved in various documentary and feature films, working alongside Krzysztof Krauze, Filip Bajon and Andrzej Wajda. After his wife’s death he decided to direct his first film. Chemo (2015) is built upon his own experiences and demonstrates the strength of love, determination and faith in a story of a couple having to cope with terminal illness.


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About the film

Color, DCP
World premiere

Section: East of the West - Competition
Director: Bartek Prokopowicz
Screenplay: Katarzyna Sarnowska
Dir. of Photography: Jeremiasz Prokopowicz
Music:  Mikromusic, Dawid Korbaczyński, Natalia Grosiak
Editor: Piotr Kmiecik, Robert Gryka
Art Director: Katarzyna Filimoniuk
Producer: Klaudia Śmieja, Katarzyna Sarnowska, Bartek Prokopowicz, Stanisław Dziedzic
Production: Filmokracja
Coproduction: HBO, VUE Movie, DIFactory, Film Produkcja, Film illumination, Soundplace, Polish Film Institute
Cast: Agnieszka Żulewska, Tomasz Schuchardt, Eryk Lubos, Danuta Stenka
Contact: Filmokracja


Bartek Prokopowicz

Film Director

Klaudia Śmieja


Katarzyna Sarnowska


Agnieszka Żulewska


Beata Rzezniczek

PR & Marketing


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