"UNSTOPPABLES" BY BARTOSZ M. KOWALSKI
The fact that American football is getting more and more popular in Poland is confirmed by the constantly growing number of clubs associated in Polish League of American Football (according to the data on the league's official website, there are 78 teams qualified for the competitions in 2015). The oval ball is chased not only in Warsaw, Poznan or Wroclaw, but also in much smaller cities, such as Olkusz or Wyszków. Bartosz M. Kowalski, the winner of the 2013 Silver Hobby-horse in Krakow for his début film "A Dream in the Making," again delves into truly masculine, rough reality, portraying the world of American football in Poland through the prism of the team Seahawks Gdynia.
In his second documentary film, made in co-operation with HBO, Kowalski enters the world of sport, but not the great sport, watched by millions of viewers on giant stadiums and not the one that generates enormous profits. In "Unstoppables," he concentrates on the kind of sport which is still niche in Poland, though it gathers a growing group of fans (the cup in 2014 was watched in Gdynia by 7 thousand viewers!). The film's protagonists are three players of the team from Gdynia and its coach - their utterances as well as "behind-the-scenes" material from the team's life make up the image of an inconsistent, chaotic community, which is nevertheless focused on the common goal. The director accompanies this team during the entire 2014 season, documenting both their struggles on the football field, and the athletes' problems in their private lives. Not much is said about money and splendour, as none of these things are within the protagonists' reach - the players and the coach do not get any money for their commitment and dedication, and when they achieve success, glory and new possibilities do not wait for any of them. This is a very distant world from the one in which the great starts of soccer, volleyball or basketball live.
Chris became a lawyer by accident, and he has just been released from prison. Bambo is a fitness coach and in spite of being nearly 30 years old, the most experienced player of the Seahawks, whereas Marcin is a hearing-impaired graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts. According to Bambo, the team includes also cooks and businessmen, but the occupation and biography of the player are of no importance when he comes to the training. The film by Kowalski tries to emphasise just this - that all are equal in the Seahawks team. When several guys, before a match, give a resounding cry to honour the team: "The team! Family!" - we start believing that it is true.
And though the director of "Unstoppables," trying to create a tale about the road to greatness, bends the truth a bit (the players talk about the championship as an unfulfilled dream, though the team from Gdynia had already won it in 2012), he manages to tell a story about sport, rivalry and devotion in an accessible way, without embellishing anything.
Author: Dawid Myśliwiec