The Tough


  • Marcin Polar
  • Poland
  • 2019
  • 14 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

This visually stunning, claustrophobic short film descends to a place that has never before been entered by a human being: a cave system high in the Polish Tatra Mountains, discovered by the speleologist Jarosław Surmacz. Filmmaker Marcin Polar accompanies him to explore this mysterious place. We experience how it must feel to descend into the unknown darkness and hold your breath to be able to crawl through the narrowest crevices. In these eerie caves, Polar plays with light and dark, the vastness of the mountain landscape and the constriction of the cave.

This wordless documentary isn’t a classic report of an expedition. Impressionistically, with distinctive sound design and close-up camerawork, it shows the extraordinary efforts of a man who slowly but surely conquers the inaccessible depths of the mountain. The cave’s discoverer aptly named it “Harda,” meaning “The Tough”: challenging, relentless, cold and hard.


  • 14 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Polish
  • Subtitles in: English
Marcin Polar
Ewa Jastrzebska for Munk Studio - Polish Filmmakers Association
Marcin Polar
Aleksandra Gowin
Michal Fojcik

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