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Jesse Eisenberg wins Sundance Award for Best Screenplay with “A Real Pain”

Filmed in Poland and co-financed by Polish Film Institute, the comedy-drama "A Real Pain" directed by Jesse Eisenberg was honored with the Waldo Salt Award for the Best Screenplay of the US Dramatic Competition during the recently concluded Sundance Film Festival 2024.

The US Dramatic Competition jury, consisting of director and screenwriter Debra Granik, comic book author and screenwriter Adrian Tomine, and actress, producer and screenwriter Lena Waithe, appreciated Eisenberg's artistic vision. The jury's justification reads: “We felt that this script was not only extremely nuanced, but also exquisitely balanced. We were amazed by the screenwriter's ability to successfully combine seriousness and darkness with humor and comedy. While watching, there were moments when we didn't know whether we should laugh or cry. This moving script gave voice to many different points of view, and each of them rang true. We were never sure how the next sentence would end or how a particular character would behave - that's why we felt that the Waldo Salt Award for Best Screenplay should go to Jesse Eisenberg for his screenplay for A Real Pain.

It is worth mentioning that Jesse Eisenberg is not only the author of the script, but also the director, producer and the main star of the film, playing a character loosely based on his real experiences.


“A Real Pain” – what is the movie about?

"A Real Pain" is a film telling the story of two cousins, David (Jesse Eisenberg) and Benji (Kieran Culkin), Americans of Jewish descent. After the death of their grandmother, who survived the Holocaust in her youth, they travel to Poland, her home country. The emotional and comedic story takes the form of a road movie - two cousins ​​travel together through Poland. During this journey, the heroes discover not only their heritage, but also expectations towards themselves and each other, which will redefine their relationships for the rest of their lives.

David and Benji are complete opposites. David is 38 years old, has a loving wife and a son whom he adores most in the world. He also has trouble establishing contacts with others and no one would call him the "life of the party". Benji, on the other hand, is a warm and open person whose behavior can improve the mood of everyone around him. The man has no problems establishing contacts with others, and although he seems to have no purpose in life and is slightly addicted to stimulants, he feels that he enjoys life to the fullest. However, his mood can change in the blink of an eye, but the hero is always honest in his feelings. The heroes will meet a group of extraordinary personalities with whom they will go on an unusual journey in the footsteps of the Holocaust, during which they will visit Warsaw, Lublin, the Majdanek extermination camp and their grandmother's hometown - Krasnystaw. The journey will be full of adventures that will forever change their perception of reality.

"A Real Pain" is a film with Polish locations,  and a Polish team -  The film was shot in the summer of 2023 in the cities of Warsaw, Lublin, Majdanek and Krasnystaw, where the American actor's family comes from. Most of the film crew were Poles. The pictures for the film were made by Michał Dymek, best known for his cooperation on Jerzy Skolimowski's Oscar-nominated film "IO" and Magnus von Horn's "Sweat".