Denmark, Poland


When Danish filmmaker Lea Glob first met Apolonia Sokol in 2009, she appeared to be leading a storybook life.

The talented Apolonia was born in an underground theatre in Paris and grew up in an artist community — the ultimate bohemian life. In her 20s, she studied at the Beaux-Arts de Paris, one of the most prestigious art academies in Europe. Over the years, Lea kept returning to film Apolonia as the latter sought her place in the art world, grappling with the agonies and joys of womanhood, the relationships with others and her own body and creation.

The result is a fascinating portrait of the young woman’s trying voyage into the art world. Apolonia is confident in her talent, but her path is not always an easy one to tread. Life is not a storybook, and Apolonia learns that women painters have to make more sacrifices and overcome greater obstacles than their male counterparts. This also applied to the friend she lived with for a long time, Oksana Shachko, one of the founders of the feminist action group Femen. Apolonia’s resilience is put to the test.

As time passes and a special bond grows between Apolonia and Lea, we witness a film being born and a painter rising to fame. 13 years on, the two women continue to reflect on each other’s paths in this mesmerizing film about art, love, motherhood, sexuality, representation, and how to succeed in a world dominated by patriarchy, capitalism and war, without losing oneself.

Director's Statement

Till this day I have never met someone like Apolonia. She is born on a stage, and when she enters the frame, the world turns into the magic of cinema. I admired the masters of cinema from I was a child, and I absolutely loved my heroines. Few, rare, but powerful in all their feminine powers on the silver screens. The real world, is another thing. The Danish writer Karen Blixen, wrote that she once made a pacts with the devil, and that in return, all she experienced would turn into stories. I think I too, live in that shadowland of the storyteller. But with a camera, and in a very present, very real story. The one story, that will be always present through changing times, the story of the female artist. This story, in our time, is my cinematic voyage into becoming a woman and artist, and I invite you in.

Apolonia and I, her on the world stage, myself behind the lens, joined this devilish pact of art- of the dance with the evil eye, while we both developed our crafts. Cinema and Painting.

One time, before the changes of the female revolution occurred, this story took us to Hollywood. Apolonia was taken by an art-dealer to the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hotel to meet Harvey Wienstein. “You are interesting and charismatic. Maybe you should be in a film?” he said, and he offered Apolonia a casting. Her response: “Thanks that's kind, I am already in a movie, I am not interested, I want to sell my Art."

During the 13 years of this film, something came to the surface. Something changed in our world, something significant happened. Our social structures turned and the patriarchal systems cracked open. The old kings fell. All along, we- all the women in the film, we lived our lives and dreamed about changing the world, and walking in the footsteps of all the great painters, filmmakers and activists. And we did. But, all creation comes with great sacrifice. And in the end it is the friendships and the love that last.

Apolonia told me once, that when you have nothing else left, you have your body. And used right it is a powerful weapon. This was a wisdom she learned from Ukrainian feminist and Activist Oksana Schacko. And in the film, both Apolonia, Oksana and I, learn that the female body, our bodies, our mothers' and grandmothers' are made for resilience. History of wars we thought would never happen again are looming.

In an old theater, one summer that I will never forget, with sun in the air and the smell of turpentine and oil from the paintings, the stillness and dull hours of waiting. There, I learned something and I lived something. And this film is an expression of that. In my childhood in my grandfather's house, I was raised partly by him, the old painter- poor. I had to sit still for the paintings. And I did not understand this mystery around the paintings. The joy- and the sadness, the hardship but I also sensed and the extreme joy and sensibility and color. My family were painters through generations, all men, and they all stared at me.

And one day, there she was, Apolonia, vividly alive. Ambitious and not afraid of anything. And I jumped in. “Sure you can come and film me" she said and gave me an address, 35 rue Leon. "When you stand in the street under my window, just call my name.. twice, and I will let you in.

I present to you, my real artistic statement: “APOLONIA, APOLONIA”.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Lea Glob

Written by: Lea Glob

Produced by: Sidsel Lønvig Siersted

Cinematography: Lea Glob, Maggie Olkuska, Meryem Yavuz, Magdalena Bojdo, Andreas Bøggild Monies, Nadim Carlsen

Editing: Andreas Bøggild Monies, Thor Ochsner

Original Score: Jonas Struck

Sound: Anna Zarnecka-Wojcik, Jacques Pedersen

Cast: Apolonia Sokol

Nominations and Awards

  • European Documentary 2023
  • Documentary Selection 2023