The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

Dir. Michal Bielawski, 2019, 75′, | Poland, Slovakia

The halny mountain wind is the most unpredictable element in Poland’s Tatras. It occurs cyclically, every fall and spring, and no one knows if and when it will turn into a devastating storm. The halny affects the inhabitants of Zakopane more than elsewhere, turning picturesque mountain paths into performance stages for the wildness of nature. When the wind arrives people become restless, the police have more calls than usual, the suicide rate increases, and doctors have to tend to more heart attack victims. The film depicts not only the destruction caused by the winds, but also its effect on the everyday lives of the locals.

The “halny” wind is known as such in the Tatra Mountains of Poland and Slovakia, but elsewhere in the world it is known by other names. In the North American Rockies it is called a “chinook”, in the Argentinian Andes it is the “zonda”, while in the Atlas Mountains of Africa’s northwest –  “ghibli”. In the Tatras this wind is a fairly regular occurrence, especially during the colder months. In 1966 and in 1985, it blew from 86 to 130 days of the year. Up until now, the most forceful “halny” was in May of 1968, when wind gusts reached up to 80 metres per second – in Poland it is known as the “Wind of the Century”.

September 1-6, 2020
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