release date:

14 V 1984


116 min

directed by:

Juliusz Machulski

written by:

Juliusz Machulski

director of photography:

Jerzy Łukaszewicz


Olgierd Łukaszewicz [Albert Starski], Jerzy Stuhr [Maks Paradys], Bożena Stryjkówna [Lamia Reno from the Archeo], Bogusława Pawelec [Emma Dax from the Genetix], Hanna Stankówna [Tekla, head of Genetix], Beata Tyszkiewicz [Berna, head of Archeo], Ryszarda Hanin [Dr. Jadwiga Yanda, Max’s daughter], Barbara Ludwiżanka [Julia Novack, the most ancient old woman in the Well-Earned Old Age Shelter], Mirosława Marcheluk [advisor of Her Excellency], Hanna Mikuć [Linda, a warden guarding the men], Elżbieta Zającówna [Zajaconna, a warden guarding the men], Dorota Stalińska [a TV reporter], Ewa Szykulska [an instructor in the special section], Janusz Michałowski [professor Wiktor Kuppelweiser], Wiesław Michnikowski [Her Excellency]

edited by:

Mirosława Garlicka

music by:

Henryk Kuźniak

production design:

Janusz Sosnowski

produced by:

Studio Filmowe „Kadr”

executive producer:

Andrzej Sołtysik


• Polish Feature Film Festival Gdańsk 1984: Grand Prix of the Jury for stage design for Janusz Sosnowski, Golden Talar
• Polish Feature Film Festival Gdańsk 1985: Film Distribution Company award
• Warsaw Mermaid 1984
• Lubusz Film Summer Łagów  1985: Film Distribution Company award
• Golden Duck 1985
• "Polityka" end of the century weekly poll 1999: 3rd place in the category of "The most interesting Polish films of the twentieth century"
• Special Golden Duck 2008: Polish comedy of the century

About the film

One of the unwritten rules that govern artistic life says that after a spectacular debut only a select few achieve similar success at the second attempt. This applies in equal measure to literature, music and film. Juliusz Machulski had a brilliant debut. At the tender age of 26, in 1981, he introduced  himself to cinema audiences as the author of Vabank − a funny pastiche of gangster films. He garnered critical acclaim, he was hailed as a “revelation of Polish cinema”, and then ... he fell silent. His next film came after three years. The director, well aware of the “rule of the second attempt”, developed it very carefully. Hard work brought the desired effect.

When Sexmission opened in cinemas in 1984, it  captivated audiences and critics alike. Realised in the convention of science fiction, it was the perfect model of a commercial film, yet  also containing deeper reflections. Machulski managed to combine a healthy dose of comedy with a satire on totalitarianism and feminism. It allowed critics to trace the influence of both Sławomir Mrożek’s Ambassador and Fellini's City of Women, as well as Stanisław Tym’s play, Laundry. More similarities were discovered over time. Machulski intelligence saved him from allegations of derivativeness and plagiarism. On the contrary − Sexmission appears to be an original work, with remarkable, clever (and cheap!) set design, surprisingly brilliant dialogue and a masterfully constructed screenplay.

Another thing is the acting, especially the phenomenal performance of Jerzy Stuhr as the ribald Maks and the contrasting role of Olgierd Lukaszewicz as the wimpy Albert. Finally, we must also mention the visual qualities of the film, as defined by the theme and title. Machulski knew how to attract male audiences, generously exploiting the beauty of the female body. And although Sexmission is not short of exposed flesh, we can hardly accuse the director of pornographic inclinations. There is too much humour, unpretentiousness and playfulness for that.