Mother of God. Self-portrait of the Poles

Matka Boska. Polaków portret własny
dir. Jacek Wasilewski, Adam Bortnowski/Poland/2018/50 min.
Luna, sala A

The film tells a story of one nation’s conviction of its uniqueness - a story of a nation firmly believing that it was chosen by the Mother of God for special tasks and a higher purpose. Jacek Wasilewski, the oral history researcher, decodes the mechanism by which Virgin Mary helps the Polish nation over centuries of its existence, particularly when facing pagans and other foreigners.

The role of St. Mary is presented at various points in time - for example when the Poles were united in their fight against communism. As her image was famously arrested by the regime, pilgrimages with an empty frame had an enormous impact on the faithful, perhaps a bigger one than the painting itself.

In 2017 another St. Mary-related event in Poland made the European headlines. On one day an estimated one million of Poles gathered at various sites along the Polish border. At an agreed time they repeatedly said the rosary with the purpose of defending and saving their motherland (and with it the entire continent) from non-Christians.

The film begins with the phenomenon of the incredible sanctuary in Licheń. One of the largest churches in Europe, it was built in twenty years thanks to generous donations from Polish Catholics. The great basilica nowadays rises up in the middle of a vast farmland.

The documentary features both clergymen and sociologists trying to trace and explain the need for Virgin Mary in narratives about Polish history.


  • projection time:
    50 min.
  • country/year:
    Poland /2018
  • director:
    Jacek Wasilewski, Adam Bortnowski
  • pictures:
    Narrative Impact Bortnowski
  • production:
    Jacek Wasilewski / Narrative Impact Jacek Wasilewski

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