Poland’s Małgorzata Szumowska, Michał Englert to Co-direct Drama ‘Let Me Out’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Polish directorial duo Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert have set drama “Let Me Out” as their next film.

Spanning 45 years, the film will focus on Adam, trying to be a good husband and father in a small town in Poland. But Adam starts to feel increasingly uncomfortable in his body, one that doesn’t reflect his true identity — as a woman, Aniela. 

Produced by No-Mad Films — a collaboration of Madants and Nowhere — it stars Małgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik and “Cold War” breakout Joanna Kulig, recently seen in Berlinale opener “She Came to Me.” 

Both actors have collaborated with Szumowska before, on her films “Body,” for which Szumowska won a Berlinale Silver Bear, and “Elles.”

“People’s knowledge of that subject is still very limited — old stereotypes persist. It will be a difficult film and a sensitive subject, but therefore very important,” says Szumowska, admitting the duo has been thinking about the story for over 20 years — ever since Englert, an acclaimed cinematographer, was asked to film one of the first gender-affirming surgeries in Poland.

“It made such a great impression on me,” he admits. 

“Every idea has to mature. Since then, we have met many trans people who told us their heartbreaking stories and let us into their lives. Together with them we have educated ourselves, tried to understand this phenomenon and after a while, it became a personal matter for us as well.

“Now, we are finally ready to condense our experiences and tell this bumpy love story — with the support of the trans community.” 

Long-time collaborators Szumowska and Englert started sharing directorial duties on “Never Gonna Snow Again,” followed by Naomi Watts starrer “Infinite Storm.” 

“Let Me Out” will also take a look at all the changes happening in post-Soviet Poland, assure the filmmakers.

“We are talking about how we remember Poland in the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s, how we see it today. This transformation of Poland — and of this person — struck us as a very interesting concept,” says Szumowska. 

“The country has been changing, but the situation of trans people hasn’t improved significantly. Tolerance and knowledge are still scarce, so this fight for them has also become our business,” adds Englert. 

Still, both are quick to note that “Let Me Out” is not a historical film. 

“It’s a melodrama about family and relationships between people, about someone’s true identity, hidden for so many years,” observes Szumowska, with Englert adding: “Two people, who love each other, just want to be themselves. In the modern world, in the middle of Europe, it would seem easy. But reality proves there is a price to pay.” 

There will be warmth in the story, however.

“I have a feeling that today, viewers are actively searching for movies that talk about feelings between people. All these dark experiments? They are gone. It’s a good time to make a film that’s accessible and understandable,” states Szumowska, describing the film as a “gender diversity tale.”

“Our documentary background came in handy this time — we are used to observing. We met so many people who shared similar experiences, we talked to them and their families.”

“This film will be very tender,” sums it up producer Klaudia Śmieja-Rostworowska. 

“I think that everyone will be able to identify with the story. It’s one of the reasons why we decided to do it. Also, this will be the first Polish production complying with the rules of diversity and inclusion to such an extent. Without all these people, it just wouldn’t feel real. It’s their film as well.” 

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