Elwira Niewiera & Piotr Rosołowski

THE HAMLET SYNDROME – To be or not to be in Ukraine

An event in cooperation with the Polish Institute

Film + Talk Talks & Workshops Social/Urban Movements

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Directors Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski chose an unusual setting for their documentary film, painting a portrait of a young Ukrainian generation: Just a few months before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the beginning of 2022, five young women and men take part in a unique theatre-production. On stage, they attempt to relate the 2013 Maidan revolution and their war experiences from the first Russian invasion into the Donbas to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. The stage becomes a platform on which they can express their grief and trauma through the famous question “to be or not to be?”. A dilemma that also reflects back on their own lives. Conflicts occurring during the rehearsal process are combined with an intense look at the protagonists’ lives. Thus emerges a strong portrait of a generation struggling with the impact of the war.

We will present the film at the FFT before its general cinematic release. After the screening, we will host a talk with directors Elwiera Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski.


Elwira Niewiera is a Polish-German director and screenwriter living in Berlin. In her artistic work, she mainly deals with social and cultural transformations in Eastern Europe. Her documentary film “Domino Effect” (co-directed with Piotr Rosołowski) has been shown at more than 50 festivals around the world, among them IDFA, Hot Docs Toronto, and MoMa Doc Fortnight. It won numerous prizes, among them the “Goldene Taube” at DOK Leipzig Film Festival and the “Golden Horn” at the Krakow Film Festival. The film received a nomination for the Prize of the Polish Film Academy in the Best Documentary category. She is an award winner of the Prize of Young German Film 2020 and the renowned American Chicken & Egg Award 2021.

Piotr Rosołowski is a Polish director, screenwriter and cameraman living in Berlin. He graduated from the Katowice Film School and was granted a scholarship to the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM). He co-authored “Rabbit à la Berlin” – an Academy Award nominated short documentary film – and co-directed “Domino Effect” with Elwira Niewiera. His most recent documentary film “The Prince and The Dybbuk” won the Best Documentary Lion at the 74th Venice Film Festival. Piotr Rosołowski also works as a cameraman; he filmed many award-winning features and documentaries, among them “On the Line” (directed by Reto Caffi) – an Academy Award nominated short feature; “The Wall of Shadows” (directed by Eliza Kubarska) – awarded the Annual Prize by the Polish Cinematographer’s Guild.

Direction: Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosołowski. Screenplay: Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosołowski. Camera: Piotr Rosołowski. Editing: Agata Cierniak. Music: John Gürtler, Jan Miserre. Sound design: Jonathan Schorr. Producers: Magdalena Kamińska, Agata Szymańska, Andreas Banz, Matthias Miegel, Robert Thalheim.


Production: Kundschafter Filmproduktion, Germany, and Balapolis, Poland. Coproduction: SWR/ARTE, CANAL+. In cooperation with: Chicken&Egg Pictures. Co-financed by: Polish Film Institute, German-Polish Filmfonds, Media Board Berlin-Brandenburg, Creative Europe MEDIA, Deutsche Filmförderungsanstalt, the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).