Panic attack as the idea for a film form?
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29. 01. 2019. Department

The first evening with Andrzej Munk Competition was marked by the film “Panic Attack”. The screening was followed by a meeting with the director, Paweł Maślona and the producer, Jan Kwieciński.

The guests revealed that preparations for the production lasted three years, during which the script underwent a real revolution. Initially, it was a few independent stories with action set in Naples, for which the merging element was a junk crisis. The script in this form received the recommendation of the Polish Film Institute. Maślona emphasized, however, that he did not want his debut to be another film, which was made only because it received funding. Further work on the text was determined by the director's fascination with the state of panic and the title "Panic Attack".

„I felt that in this title there is a secret for the form. I was wondering how to share this state through the film. The context seemed fantastic to me – to tell a story about how people bring about the disaster that they obviously must be needing. I wanted to make a film that would in its form resemble a panic attack. This idea was thrilling to me.” – said Maślona

Because of the great freedom in searching for a perfect form for the story, the producer’s perspective provided an interesting reference point for the conversation, who on the one hand supported the work on the script, and on the other hand had to hold the project together, which - as it seemed at that time - was getting out of control.

„In terms of the production the film was not complicated. Logistics was complicated. It took some time to create the script but the characters evolved for a long time. Constructing the main characters took a long time until Paweł could belive in them. From things happening on the set, I remember that the script changed probably 5 times, so we had the least consistent script. " – added Kwieciński with a smile.

The issue of the therapeutic function of the film was also mentioned. As stressed by Maślona, the film is in no way a therapy for him. In one of the reviews, however, he found such a perception of the film, where domination was the leitmotif to read the dependencies between the heroes. "The interesting thing is that I dealt with this problem myself during therapy and I noticed then that indeed [as written in the review] everyone in the" Panic Attack "is dominated by someone" - the director emphasized.

During the conversation there was also a kind of conflict along the line: an idea for marketing run at the stage of distribution, and the artistic form. The dissonance which could confuse the viewer would consist in the fact that the film "Panic Attack" was advertised as a comedy. On the other hand, the form plays here a crucial part. What’s more, the director's intention was to use things the viewer is used to and demolish them. „Knowing what the viewer is used to I wanted to say ... wait a minute. I did not say it all happens in one day. I wanted the film to start to fall apart at some point, and only then to gain sense and meaning "- added Paweł Maślona.

Finally, the guests shared their impressions after the film screenings abroad. They admitted that the film had the best reception at the festival in Karlovy Vary, where it had its international premiere.

The meeting with the film-makers was run by Patrycja Mucha.
Photos: Łukasz Glajzner