This might surprise most people but Wrocław, a modestly-sized city in Southwest Poland, has a burgeoning film scene. There are a number of fantastic things to do in Wrocław for film lovers and I’m sure, over the years, more and more cinema events will pop up and more overseas production companies will choose to use filming locations in Wrocław.
Ever since the Polish classic Ashes and Diamonds (1958) directed by ‘Polish film school’ alumni Andrzej Wajda used Wrocław as a filming location, other Polish filmmakers became aware of Wrocław’s charm. It’s a relatively quiet city with an ornate, old-world city centre and typical Polish suburbs encircling it. All of the facilities in Łódź (including the famous National Film School in Łódź) have made it ‘the’ film city in Poland, but I reckon Wrocław is a close second.
If you’re a film nerd whose planning a trip, here are some great things to do in Wrocław for film lovers to plan into your itinerary!
Wrocław for Film Lovers
1. Check out the top Wrocław filming locations
Obviously one of the best things to do in Wrocław for film lovers is to hunt out the top filming locations. There has been one top Hollywood film location shot here in recent years: Steven Speilberg’s Bridge of Spies (2015). The film is set during the cold war in East Berlin. But of course, East Berlin today looks absolutely nothing like East Berlin in the 1950s! So Wrocław was chosen to stand in for the former Soviet state.
As well as Ashes and Diamonds, several other Polish films have shot in Wrocław. The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) and The Doll (1968) directed by Wojciech Jerzy Has both shot in Wrocław as well as Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water (1962)and Stanisław Lenartowicz’s comedy film Giuseppe in Warsaw (1964).
Those films were all shot so long ago, I think Wrocław is due for a comeback!
2. Screen a movie (or two) at Wrocław’s independent cinemas
Wrocław’s fantastic independent cinemas are one of the best things about Wrocław full stop! I was so, so impressed. Sure, there aren’t many but what they do have are perfect for a city of this size. Cinema New Horizons is hands down one of the biggest truly independent cinemas I’ve come across. It has many more facilities that my own local cinema, HOME, in Manchester and which was even custom built in 2015. If you only do one thing in Wrocław for film lovers, make it a trip to Cinema New Horizons.
3. Discover new films at Wrocław’s top film festivals
And if you’re visiting at the end of July/beginning of August, you’ll have to visit Cinema New Horizons because the New Horizons Film Festival will be on! It’s a really popular, almost 20-year-old avant-garde film festival showcasing the best in world cinema. It actually looks really awesome and I’m definitely adding it to my film festival wishlist.
If avant-garde isn’t your bag, the American Film Festival in Wrocław is a good alternative. Held slightly later in the year in October/November, this film festival screens new, indie American flicks like American Animals (2018) and older, underrated films like Shampoo (1975). The film festival is only around ten years old but it’s getting bigger every year with more panels and discussions. It’s the perfect film festival for expats and travellers in Wrocław!
4. Buy a ticket for the Movie Gate Film Museum in Wrocław
Yes, even little old Wrocław has a movie museum! Housed in a WWII air raid bunker in the city centre, Movie Gate is filled with props and costumes from your favourite blockbusters and Hollywood films. Honestly, heaps of amazing memorabilia fill around 50 rooms in the old bunker. And I have no idea why or how they ended up in Wrocław, Poland. Costumes from Gladiator (2000), Inglourious Basterds (2009), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and The Matrix (1999) are all featured, as well as Penguin’s pincer hands from Batman Returns (1992).
Tickets cost between 15-19 PLN (£3.01-£3.81) which you can buy at Movie Gate’s ticket office, there’s no need to book. Open Monday-Thursday from 10:00-18:00 and Friday-Sunday from 10:00-20:00.
5. Pay your respects to the Commemorative Plaques at the Feature Film Studios
And finally, this is of the best things to do in Wrocław for film lovers of classic Polish film. Wrocław does have it’s own Feature Film Studio, which is now the Audiovisual Technology Centre concentrating on the effects and postproduction side of filmmaking. But back in the 1960s, Wrocław’s Feature Film Studio would have been graced by the presence of many fantastic Polish filmmakers.
Along the front wall of the old Feature Film Studios, are some commemorative plaques. To find them on Google maps, you’ll either need to learn Polish or copy this to find it: Tablice Pamiątkowe na Wytwórni Filmów Fabularnych.
The plaques are dedicated to Wojciech Jerzy Has (director), Zbigniew Cybulski (actor) and Stanisław Lenartowicz (director). I believe they’re the only three on the wall. The plaques won’t interest the average film fan but they’re a must-see in Wrocław for film lovers and die-hard Polish cinema fans.
And those are the top things to do in Wrocław for film lovers! Have you visited Wrocław? Would you add anything to my film lovers guide to Wrocław? Let me know in the comments below!