Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Film Discussion: The Hater

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Note: This event does not include a screening of the film. Attendees are encouraged to watch The Hater on Netflix in advance of the discussion.

The East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute presents its 2020-2021 film series: Contemporary Society and Its Discontents, a series of screenings and discussions of films from the past five years that comment on various aspects of contemporary life in East Central Europe. This event features a discussion about the Polish film The Hater (2020) with director Jan Komasa and lead actor Maciej Musiałowski in conversation with Christopher Harwood (ECEC co-director) and Christopher Caes (Lecturer in Polish).

When University of Warsaw law student Tomek Giemza is expelled for plagiarism, he keeps it a secret so he can continue receiving financial aid from Mr. and Mrs. Krasucki, the upper-class parents of his childhood friend Gabi.

When his deception is uncovered, the disgraced Tomek loses the trust and good will of his benefactors. Filled with an anger and resentment, and separated from Gabi—whom he’s been in love with for years—he plans his revenge on the Krasuckis. The opportunity for vengeance soon arrives: Tomek is hired at an ad agency run by Beata Santorska, where he gains access to the newest technology and the dirty little secrets of Warsaw’s social elites. Under the guise of performing his work duties, Tomek begins a surveillance operation against Mr. and Mrs. Krasucki, who are campaigning for Paweł Rudnicki as he runs for mayor of Warsaw. Soon, the hater’s plan begins to take shape, and its path will lead through the virtual world of a popular online game.

The Hater is an incredibly timely story about a man of our times— jaded and disillusioned, he is perfectly comfortable in the era of online post-truth and social media, shrewdly manipulating people blinded by ideology. The movie offers an in-depth study of frustration and aggression stemming from economic inequity and class exclusion in our seemingly open meritocracy. It is also a movie about the great eternal forces of love and hate.

The title role is played by Maciej Musiałowski, the breakthrough actor of the last few seasons. The Hater also stars Agata Kulesza, Danuta Stenka, Vanessa Aleksander, Maciej Stuhr, Jacek Koman, Adam Gradowski and others.

Event Video