John McClane, Frank Serpico, Dirty Harry, cadet Mahoney or Poland’s own Franz Maurer. On the other side of the barricade: Tony Montana, the Corleone family, and finally the "colourful" gentlemen in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Who doesn't know these characters? Over the years, police and gangster movies have created characters who have stimulated the imagination of viewers all over the world. From petty thieves to characters at the forefront of criminal empires. From inconspicuous cadets in police academies to hard-working officers of the law. Their images might have been very different—romantic, realistic, or created with a sense of irony. What the films representing these two genres have in common is the fact that they often, as if coincidentally, reflected the social problems of the reality they portrayed. The attractiveness of the topic is best seen in the gallery of filmmakers that have tackled it, with Francis Ford Coppola, Sidney Lumet, Brian De Palma, Michael Mann and Don Siegel among them. In this special section of the Mastercard OFF CAMERA festival we want to take a look at the evolution of how police officers and gangsters are portrayed in both feature films and documentaries. We will also consider whether there is room for gender equality in these traditionally "male" genres. Let the chase begin!

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