Institute History


One of the most exciting talents among a new generation of Polish directors, Malgosia Szumowska applies sensuous visual storytelling to an entirely original, poetic film about the preciousness of life experience and the enormous rewards of sharing it. Stranger follows a young woman (the luminous Malgosia Bela) on an existential journey of discovery, inspiration, and love.

Eva doesn't have much going for her. She works at a highway gas station; the boyfriend who got her pregnant split town; and an intriguing fellow on the tram steals her wallet, making it impossible to pay for the abortion she has scheduled that day. But the delayed abortion turns out to be serendipitous. At the clinic, Eva overhears a revelatory statement: a fetus can actually hear its mother's voice resonating along her spine. Suddenly, something awakens in Eva, and she sets out to introduce the universe to her unborn child—the stranger who is also a part of herself. Eva is able to inhabit life more fully through being inhabited by the baby.

As if an expression of Eva's newly heightened senses, Stranger bursts with vibrant colors, dazzling vistas, and evocative music. Shifting from ethereal to eccentric to philosophical to visceral as Eva navigates the rocky realities of existence, the narrative constantly subverts expectation. And the result is transcendent.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]