Night of Polish Movies (Part 2 of 2)

2. “Carnage” (“Rzeź”)

“Carnage” is a very theatre-like film, since it’s an adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s play “God of Carnage”. The play’s title is quite similar to “Angel of Extermination”, a Luis Bunuel film about group of people who meet for a dinner at a mansion and for some reason cannot leave the building. In similar way the characters of this film – two married couples (John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster versus Kate Winslet and Christopher Waltz) who meet to discuss a fight that occurred between their sons, seem to be stuck in the apartment with something always getting in the way of them parting their ways in peace.

My wife saw the movie before me and returned from the cinema terrified. She said it’s horrifying. Later I read somewhere that the movie is actually a comedy, to what she said that yes, there are some funny lines. All this only fueled my curiosity, although from that I felt I knew what to expect from the movie. And I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. The movie is extremely funny. The whole cinema was roaring with laughter, yet I felt that underneath that there is a quiet desperation of people who are afraid that like actually is like depicted, and people do behave this way.
The movie is, unfortunately, very short – only 80 minutes. That’s a pity, because I could listen to those wonderful dialogues delivered by such amazing actors (with all the love I have for Kate Winslet I must admit that Jodie Foster was the best of all four) for at least twice that time. It was great to see such respectable actors playing adults who behave worse than their children who got in a fight… More of that, please!

polishfilms23. “Wymyk” (“Courage”)

“Wymyk” is a great study of guilty conscience. Robert Więckiewicz, who nailed his role in “In Darkness”, reaches the absolute heights in this one. The movie revolves around him in this very real, painfully down-to-earth story that makes us ask the question how we would act if we were put in the same situation. A story like that could easily be drowned in moralizing tone and terrible cliches, especially in Polish cinema, but this movie doesn’t go that way. It’s subtle, it’s subdues, it plays its undertones wonderfully. Near the end I was almost screaming at the screen: “come on, people, let him off the hook! Please!” Fortunately, the ending shows hope, and again – it’s subtle and subdued, for those who want to see it. Great movie.

4. “Sala Samobójców” (“Suicide Room”)

“Sala Samobójców”, oh gosh. I spend almost the whole year trying to avoid this one, because I really couldn’t make my mind about it from all the contradicting information I heard from around. Some praised the movie and the role of young leading actor Jakub Gierszał, and others called it pretentious, shallow and one-dimensional. And then there were the trailers in which I just couldn’t look past the emo bullshit. But my friends at the marathon, who had seen it before, really convinced me to give it a chance. Especially, they said, the ending will blow my mind.

So, there I was, watching the movie, and I actually liked it quite much. It turned out that the whole emo layer is treated as the same pretentious pose as I treat it in real life. The characters and their problems actually seemed real and not exaggerated, believable and not grotesque. As for the ending, since they told me how mindblowing it was, I was trying to look for the clues for some mindfucking plot twist, but there was none. If the ending was supposed to be a twist, I looked through the red herrings pretty soon, as there is one pivotal scene in the movie that, if interpreted correctly while watching, gives a pretty good sense of where it all is going. But twist or no twist, I must say the ending really blows the mind, not because of it’s unexpectedness, but because of just how fucking powerfully it’s played. Those images just won’t leave you, as they didn’t leave me.
One more thing about the movie: when I posted positive things about it on social networks, I got mixed reactions and I realized that everyone who liked it is my age or older, and everyone who hated it is younger. “Sala…” is kind of an intervention movie and probably I’m just at the right age to start to see it as a warning (as do people older and more mature than me) and not as a exaggerated bullshit that people younger than me may see in it in a kind of “ugh, those stiff old people don’t understand us, young flexible minds”. Guess I’m old and stiff, but the movie is really good and worth seeing.

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