W Imię (In the Name Of) is a Polish drama from 2013. It tells the story of a Catholic priest, Father Adam, living in rural Poland. He is talented at helping local troubled youth and is well liked in the community. But he is also struggling with the knowledge that he is gay and that he joined the priesthood to escape from this. He must hide it from everyone around him, but his determination to remain abstinent is challenged when he meets local resident Lukasz. The ending of the film struck many critics as surprising, and not in a good way.

The film won many international prizes, including the Teddy Award for Best Queer Film at the 63rd International Berlin Film Festival and Best Film at the Milan International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 2013. It also won several awards at the Gdynia Film Festival in Poland.

The film was widely expected to be controversial in Poland, which is not known for being particularly liberal on LGBT issues. The film also uses Catholic imagery to illustrate Father Adam’s struggles, which is doubly controversial in Poland, a majority Catholic country. The director, Malgorzata Szumowska, was irritated by the press’s focus on the gay subject matter, saying that the film was about the experiences of an individual priest rather than a statement about gay rights or the lack thereof. She intended the film first as a discussion of loneliness.

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Director: Małgorzata Szumowska
Stars: Andrzej Chyra, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Marija Maj, Maja Ostaszewska, Tomasz Schuchardt, Łukasz Simlat
Production company: MD4, Canal+, Polish Film Institute, Shot – Szumowski, Zentropa International Poland

Official trailer:

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W Imię (In the Name Of)

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.