Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

Wednesday, Thursday Morning. Wilding Warsaw style. Film review

(Sroda, czwartek rano) written and directed by Grzegorz Pacek. Poland 2007.
From the Thessaloniki FF, 2007
It’s a shaky camera ride through the drab streets of Warsaw that begins with Pawel Tomaszewski entering an airline ticket office with his bicycle and gaining attention by claiming loudly that his girlfriend has just died. As it turns out, this is untrue, but it is a foreshadowing of the tragic events that follow. After braving the bullies in his apartment building hallway, and daring a road rager to hit him with his car, (for which he ends up in a neck brace), something good finally happens to him. He meets up with a girl that represents the joy of life, played by Joanna Kulig.
After a bit of relentless wooing on the girl’s part, they finally join forces and spend the next twenty four hours careening aimlessly around the city, tasting the dubious adventures of provoking the police at the flea market, tempting death alongside the river, shoplifting in the department store and throwing fits on the tram when inspected by the ticket collector. There is an odd leitmotif of the Polish resistance of World War Two and the Ghetto Uprising, which pops up in curbside memorials and in the old war songs sung by retired army veterans. It is just another reminder of the proximity of death and defeat, and the cruel indifference of the world that will confront these characters at every turn. The city is ugly and faceless, there is hardly a sign, monument or landmark anywhere to tell the viewer where they are. Moreover, the other players are humorless and laconic, thus putting all focus on the two main characters, who mercifully are able to take the weight of this film. The two young people carry the film along, providing an appealing energy that keeps it interesting even when the film is going nowhere.
Predictably, the director has chosen to leave many questions unanswered at the end of the film, succumbing to that by now cliché auteur cop-out of an open ending. The somewhat underrealized story robs this film of the impact it could have, but the fine performances of these two attractive and talented young actors make up for much of the vagueness.
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May 9, 2009 - Posted by | cinema | , ,

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