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Director: Anka Sasnal, Wilhelm Sasnal
Script: Anka Sasnal, Wilhelm Sasnal
Producer: Anton Kern Gallery
Cast: Marcin Czarnik, Piotr Nowak, Elzbieta Okupska, Jerzy lapinski, Hanna Chojnacka, Michel Pietrzak
Poland 77mins Drama
A very different flavour to this years Kinoteka comes from filmmaking team Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal, who give us a hard slice of life in present-day rural Poland, redolent in style and depiction to our own Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank).
Nominated for awards at the Jeonju and Rotterdam Film Festivals, this minimal approach to storytelling packs a very powerful punch. Life, death and the human instinct for survival is what is on display here, among the grimed reality of an everyday life bumping along the surface of complete destitution, where it seems even words are too expensive to be bandied about willy-nilly.
There is simply no room for frills and niceties and everything is up for grabs, be it in nature or a car. Into this frame comes the love between a young woman and her beau, a scrap metal collector, living with a mother lost to dementia.
There’s a compression, a palpable claustrophobia despite the bucolic setting, brought on by ever-present poverty and that other accompaniment to country living; that everybody knows your business. There’s no plastic castle for hiding in this goldfish bowl.
It’s a super bleak take on life, shot with an economy, an absence of fat that complements the harsh beauty of their living landscape. There’s precious little to aspire to, so anything that alleviates the grind or the boredom is picked clean by hungry fingers. It’s a constant battle just existing in an arena where no quarter is given. Ever.
First film then from the Sasnal Writer, Producer and Director team and what a strong debut it is; an excruciating portrayal of the constant anger and frustration simmering just below the surface when lives are given no hope of relief. Hopefully it proves strong enough for them to get their next one off the ground.
Like taking a cold shower with a scouring pad. AT
IT LOOKS PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE IS PART OF THE ICA’S REGULAR ARTISTS’ FILM CLUB SERIES AND WILL SCREEN AT THE ICA, LONDON ON 16TH MARCH 2013 AS PART OF THE KINOTEKA SERIES. KINOTEKA POLISH FILM FESTIVAL 2013: LONDON, BELFAST, LIVERPOOL AND EDINBURGH 7-17 MARCH 2013