Hmm. I quite liked this quirky Polish drama. Actually I liked it a lot up until the end. Of course I can’t tell you what happens at the end but I’m wondering if my disappointment was because a fellow MIFF-goer had recommended it, saying, “You don’t know where it’s going but it’s all brought together beautifully at the end.” The danger of having expectations. It is a nice ending but overstated, I think. For such a subtle film, it deserved better.
The first scene sets the tone for this drama that keeps you slightly off-kilter throughout. Set in northern Warsaw, we see a man hanging from a tree. Janusz, a middle-aged attorney attends the scene and after the body is cut down, as the backs of the officials are turned, the dead man gets up and walks away. We find out that Janusz has a difficult relationship with his daughter, Olga, who has a serious eating disorder. She is sometimes hospitalised and under the care of a therapist, Anna, who has some unusual techniques.
The impact of death on those it touches runs as a thread through this film. Janusz must see death regularly in his job and we can see that he has put up thick walls to protect himself. As we watch Olga in her therapy group, we see what a seductive presence death is for her. The character of Anna stood out for me. There was something about her bearing and calmness that created a centre for the film and a hope that she may be the one with the answer. This is not a morbid film, death is a motif that helps us think about what it is to be alive.