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365 Days cinematographer discusses filming Netflix's controversial chart-topping movie

(Image credit: Netflix)

Take a glance at Netflix's top movies and you may be surprised to find that Spike Lee's groundbreaking Da 5 Bloods (opens in new tab) does not currently sit at number one. Despite being released last Friday (12 June), the Vietnam epic has been overtaken by a Polish movie that reached the streaming service the week before to little fanfare: 365 Days.

Take a glance at Twitter and you'll notice a few people talking about the new Netflix movie (opens in new tab), though you may want to hold off on hitting play on 365 Days if you're currently in lockdown with your parents: this chart-topper has already been dubbed "the Polish 50 Shades of Grey".

The movie has quickly courted controversy thanks to some already-infamous sex scenes and a plot that's threadbare and problematic. 365 Days sees a member of the mafia (Michele Morrone) kidnap an unhappy woman (Anna Maria Sieklucka) and gives her a year – 365 days – to fall in love with him. If she does not fall head-over-heels for her captor, then she's free to go. In the meantime, she's trapped.

Yes, that's the plot of the number one movie on Netflix. And yes, it's already become a TikTok meme as users post their reactions to watching this not-so-romantic movie. 

Cinematographer Bartek Cierlica spoke to Variety (opens in new tab) about capturing some of the more "intimate" scenes. "We created the most intimate atmosphere we could for the actors," Cierlica told the publication. "We reduced the on-set crew to an absolute minimum. As it was handheld I was following their action, and trying to show their passion in a natural but beautiful way. We wanted this sex to be pretty authentic. We wanted the viewer to hear their whispers, heavy breaths and we wanted to show the sweat, passion. Be natural, authentic, but not to cross the border of pornography."

"I knew that as a [Director of Photography] I was walking on very thin ice," Cierlica continued. "It is always a big challenge when you have to bring to life a story that people know and have their idea about. Here the challenge was doubled – how to make it seductive and erotic within the borders of general good taste and my aesthetic."

365 Days has been directed by Barbara Bialowas and Tomasz Mandes, and the reviews have been suitably scathing. As Variety (opens in new tab) puts it: "365 Days [is] a thoroughly terrible, politically objectionable, occasionally hilarious Polish humpathon currently gasping and writhing its way up the Netflix charts." Yikes. Hopefully, something will knock the movie off its perch sooner rather than later – and let's hope this doesn't mean Netflix will start commissioning more of the same...

Jack Shepherd
Jack Shepherd

I'm the Senior Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features. Plus I look after the Total Film and SFX sections and socials media channels. I used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film