Jestem is one of those movies which makes me feel sorry that I was not able to watch it on a big cinema screen.  It is visually rich and the viewer will definitely remember many of its stunning scenes.  The cinematography is remarkable – to the point that at times it almost feels like you are seeing and experiencing a visual poem.  The use of warm sepia coloring  gives an almost fairy-tale  feeling to the story – a fairy-tale about adolescence and the cruelty of life. In addition to that, Jestem has a powerful story that is guaranteed to make you think deeper about life and its injustices.

A powerful coming of age drama – Jestem (also known as I Am) is a film about a young homeless boy who lives alone on an abandoned river barge because  nobody in the world seems to care about his existence – not even his own mother.  In fact, she is quite a negative character in the film – young and attractive but  an irresponsible mother. One could not help it but condemn the way she treated her son.

jestem-37As the movie focuses on the experiences of its young protagonist, the director relied largely on the performance of  Piotr Jagielski. From the opening scene and throughout the film, the camera focuses on the boy and his face frequently appears and fills the screen. It must have been quite challenging to be the lead actor in Jestem and Piotr Jagielski seems like the perfect choice for that role. He is comfortable in front of the camera – and successfully conveys his emotions to the viewer.

Obviously,  Director Dorota Kedzierzawska has some experience in directing young actors, as I can’t imagine how otherwise such flawless scenes could be recorded.  She seems  perfectly able to penetrate the child’s world and allow us a peek inside the soul of the movie protagonist. An article about her in Wikipedia confirms that observation:

Kędzierzawska is the director of several acclaimed films, such as Devils, Devils, Crows, Nothing, and I Am. In her films, she concentrates on the experiences of disadvantaged children who contend with a difficult financial situation, rejection by adults, or both.


The film’s soundtrack, composed by Michael Nyman, contributes to the atmosphere in Jestem with melodic, almost mystical vibes.

The film won several awards, including the Audience Award at the 30th POLISH FILM FESTIVAL in Gdynia (2005) as well as the awards for Best Cinematography (Artur Reinhart), Best Music (Michael Nyman), and Best Sound (Bartek Putkiewicz). It also received an award from the jury of the 29th Kinderfilmfest Berlinale 2006, and the Award of the President of the Italian Republic – second place in the “Free to Fly” section at the 36th Giffoni Film Festival in Italy.


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  1. I Just watched this last night! (Got it for Christmas). Absolutely beautiful film! I loved every minute of it.

  2. This film left me speechless! I know I have seen other Polish made films but never have I seen one so well directed and produced. With all the new Hollywood made films using all the special effects that seem to dazzle the senses, non of that can compare to a well produced film like Jestem! Watching this film even on my small laptop screen simply amazed me, as the cinematographic images using the closeup lens gave me the feeling that I was actually looking through young Piotr Jagielski’s eyes. This amazing young actor not only gave an Oscar winning performance but simply captivated me and drew me in like a moth to the flame. This director deserves every award that she was awarded and more. The music was magnificent and added so much to the film especially in the silent portions when you could just feel the boys emotions and your own mind was able to ponder what he was actually feeling and thinking. One particular scene the music even emulates the small music box that the lead held as his dearest position. I would recommend this film to anyone who truly loves dramatic films that pull on your heart strings. Yes this film is a winner and after watching almost every blockbuster this summer I would have to say that this Polish Masterpiece stand taller than all the special effects films I have viewed this year. When you have a winning story, a magnificent young actor, a winning director, and a great camera crew you don’t need all the computer hype that most people think you need to make a movie! What more can I say for one who is speechless! I guess I lied! I could continue on for days about the film. Simply wonderful is what “I AM” trying to say!

    • I am do do a top 10 coming of age films that focus on boyhood from the ones I have reviewed and Jestem is sure to make it in that list. Thank you for leaving such great comment about the film – is as good if no better than the review itself and I am sure that the readers will appreciate that.

  3. this movie is one on my top 10 coming of age movie ;)

    Piotr Jagielski was absolutely marvellous with a amazing acting. & Dorota Kedzierzawska have made a awesome job in directing the young caracters & the lighting on this movie is unbelievable & transcribe very well the darkside of the life of that kid…..

    this movie is a must to see for coming of age fan


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