Private Project

The Mortals Diary

“The Mortal's Diary” tackles a truly difficult philosophical and ethical issue faced by people today, that is the issue of suicide. In Poland, an average of 15 people, including 12 men, take their own life every day. Concealing the scale of the phenomenon is common practice in Poland and elsewhere. Our intention is to bring this extremely sensitive and often overlooked topic to the attention of the media.

A serious comedy
A story of a man who planned to commit suicide but instead, was killed or, in fact, died in an accident. The film is reminiscent of a philosophical tale, full of irony and distance; the ambience is magic realism.

F.P. is a 50-year-old businessman. He has a family, money, and a growing resentment towards life. Deep down, he is an unfulfilled artist and intellectual. Disillusionment with life pushes him towards suicide. He arrives at a seaside resort, abandoned in the low season, embarking on the last task of his life. He starts to write a letter to his wife. However, the search for the right words stirs up memories and characters from the past. Among them is the ghost of his father, who committed suicide at the age of fifty, and is now trying to dissuade his son from the tragic deed.

Reflecting on death by suicide leads to the conclusion that this type of death offers no solace, nor does it solve anything. As punishment for suicide, the individual remains among the living. He or she is delivered by effectively helping others; the soul is redeemed by being released from this world.

The case of F.P. is a paradox, even though he did not kill himself (he died in a fatal car accident). He decides to stay among the living, like a guardian angel, to watch over his daughter who has dark thoughts and is reading Cioran's “On the Heights of Despair”. What follows is a posthumous transformation of the protagonist who finally understands what is most important in life.

A reflection on a mature man, disillusioned with life, is a pretext to talk about depression, death, and its consequences for the family. The choice of a story within a story, and the humour, are the filmmakers’ deliberate intervention. Underneath the subtle layer of black humour and amusing intrigues, there is a story of a modern human not supported by religion or a convincing philosophical system to prepare him or her for the journey into the afterlife.
The other (realistic) thread revolves around the investigation into the protagonist's death. The constable, finding F.P.'s body on the seashore, draws completely different conclusions as to the protagonist's true motivations and the cause of death. He is certain that a murder has been committed. He confuses the clues and 'dilutes' the suffocating atmosphere of death by suicide. By the end of the film, it remains unknown whether the protagonist killed himself or if someone helped him to do it.

Death in the film is presented in two dimensions: the metaphysical and the realistic, the latter with an autopsy, a corpse, and a funeral.
In summary, the film’s formula is anything but obvious. It is impossible to classify the picture into one genre. It is an eclectic construction, where entertainment and amusement only provoke reflection in a philosophical sense. In a word, it is a clever, witty film - a 'serious comedy' that confronts the viewers with death in this oftentimes thoughtless world.

  • Maciej Żak
  • Maciej Żak
  • Maciej Żak
  • Dominik Pijański
  • Ireneusz Czop
    Key Cast
  • Marian Dziędziel
    Key Cast
    "Father's ghost"
  • Magdalena Boczarska
    Key Cast
    "Public prosecutor"
  • Magdalena Popławska
    Key Cast
    "F.P. wife"
  • Paweł Tomaszewski
    Key Cast
    "Police officer"
  • Marcin Sztabiński
    Key Cast
  • Agata Turkot
    Key Cast
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Zapiski Śmiertelnika
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 45 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Maciej Żak

Konwój, 2016, 92 min
Supermarket, 2012, 84 min
Rozmowy nocą, 2008, 95 min
Ławeczka, 2004, 84 min

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Director Statement

The Mortals Diary - work in progress.