08 | 12 | 2023

Humble servants

Humble servants, credit foto: Robert Pałka/PIF

A young German girl jumps off a Wrocław church tower. She is a member of a Women’s Gregorian Choir led by a cantor Jan (Adam Woronowicz). The church community is appalled by a taboo breaking women’s schola. Among those who strongly disapprove this choir is… the cantor himself. The mysterious death is investigated by an experienced and uncompromising Superintendent Warski (Bartłomiej Topa), for whom  saving human live means more than following the procedures. When he breaks the rules in another action, he is referred to a psychologists (Małgorzata Foremniak). Hardly any man can resist the sex appeal of this outwardly cold but a beautiful woman…

Superintendent Warski is not really happy when he finds out  that Ana Wittesch (Julia Kijowska), a German police officer of a Polish origin, is assigned to the case. He has no idea that Ana came to Wrocław to conduct other secret  investigation.  Given an exceptional intelligence and a police instinct, Superintendent Warski quite soon discovers the truth about Ana.  But it’s not the whole truth… This is only known to Witecki (Henryk Talar) a parish priest, the cantor’s superior. Thanks to his partner a superintendent Konarski (Zbigniew Stryj), Warski (Bartłomiej Topa) begins to understand where the greatest evil comes from… The evil that is created and enhanced in death silence…

A Vatican envoy, dr Kunz (Krzysztof Stelmaszyk) arrives in Wrocław. Being concerned about a situation and atmosphere in the Polish church, he successfully forbids the church from carrying on the investigation. But there are still Ana and Warski who are not going to give up…

What connects the suicide of a German student, Ana’s investigation and a Vatican envoy arrival? To find an answer to this question, Superintendent Warski and Ana Wittesch will have to learn how to cooperate and trust each other. In the meantime another girl jumps off  the Wrocław church tower…


"Sługi boże" ("Humble servants") is a criminal directed by Mariusz Gawryś (co-author of the script). He is a winner of Gdansk Lions for the best debut for a film "Szkoła Masażu". The script is inspired by a common decrease of social trust for different government institutions nominally appointed to protect our country. The film is dominated by dark and gloomy colours enforced by spare light (e.g. night scenes of  Wrocław after the rain), fogg, dark rooms, church interiors, but a view of today’s modern city of Wrocław is also shown.

"Sługi boże" ("Humble servants") reaches for devices that haven’t been used in the Polish cinematography. They highlight the particular care of criminal details: death bodies shown in a realistic way without bleeding or rousing anxiety production and escalating fear during projection. We don’t know where they come from, though… And it’s all to make the face to face meeting with a murderer shocking with banality of evil which he represents…

"Humble servants" („Sługi boże”)
crime film (detective story)
Polish production
Director: Mariusz Gawryś
Scriptwriters: Mariusz Gawryś, Maciej Strzembosz
Director of photography: Mikołaj Łebkowski
Production designer: Janusz Sosnowski
Music: Maciej Zieliński
Costumes: Anna Englert
Editor: Milenia Fiedler
Unit Manager: Marcin Ksobiech
Costumes: Anna Englert
Film editing: Milenia Fiedler

Bartłomiej Topa (Warski)
Julia Kijowska (Ana)
Małgorzata Foremniak (Stanisz)
Henryk Talar (Proboszcz Witecki)
Zbigniew Stryj (Inspektor Konarski)
Krzysztof Stelmaszyk (Georg Kuntz)
Adam Woronowicz (Kantor Jan Rudzki)
Andrzej Konopka (Kalita)
Michał Meyer (Alex)
Monika Dryl (dr Magda Batorzyńska)

Producer: Maciej Strzembosz
Executive Producer: Dorota Hawliczek
Production Company: Prasa & Film Ltd.
Co-production: TVP S.A., Odra-Film, Studio Produkcyjne Orka, WFDiF, Agora S.A.
Co-financed by: Polish Film Institute
Distribution: Next Film
Beginning of shooting: 26 September 2015
Location: Wrocław, Warszawa
Time: 100'