Polish director Jan Komasa’s “Corpus Christi” was the biggest surprise of this year’s Oscar nominees in the Best International Feature Film category, slipping into the final five over a number of better-known films with its nuanced and electric portrait of a young ex-con masquerading as a priest at a rural church.
And now, a little more than five months after “Corpus Christi” lost to “Parasite” and debuted in theaters, Komasa is back with “The Hater.” Like the Oscar-nominated film, “The Hater” is about a feral, charismatic young man engaged in elaborate deceptions – but in this case, it’s set in a more modern and urban world of dance clubs and social media, where it’s harder for the film to have the same kind of impact as “Corpus Christi.”
The film was an early casualty of the coronavirus: Its early-March theatrical release in Poland ended prematurely because of the pandemic, and a planned U.S. premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival was a casualty of that festival’s cancellation. But the Tribeca juries still viewed the film’s online, and “The Hater” won the award as the best international narrative film before being picked up by Netflix, which released it this week.
Also Read: ‘Corpus Christi’ Review: Poland’s Oscar Entry Explores the Rough Road of Redemption
Despite the themes it has in common with “Corpus Christi,” “The Hater” is far more closely linked to an earlier film of Komasa’s, the 2011 drama “Suicide Room.” In that film, a teenage boy becomes desperate as his life falls apart after he’s mocked on social media sites – a situation that is flipped in “The Hater,” in which the central figure is a young man who becomes an exper