Director: Jan Jakub Kolski
Script: Jan Jakub Kolski
Producer: Wieslaw Lysakowski
Cast: Erik Lubos, Agnieszka Pawelkiewicz, Alexandra Michael, Marek Kasprzyk, Mariusz Bonaszewski, Mateusz Krol, Daniel Misiewicz
Poland 100mins 2012 Psychodrama
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My introduction to this year’s Kinoteka, the 11th Polish Film festival here in London, comes via Polish filmmaker and son of editor Roman Kolski, Jan Jakub Kolski has made fourteen films and is regarded as the founder of ‘magical realism’ in Poland. Certainly he’s an auteur at the top of his game.
To Kill A Beaver is a dark study into the psychology of one man and the damage that abuse or exposure to trauma can elicit. And it is quite brilliant. Eryk Lubos won Best Actor plaudits at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival last year for his completely committed performance in the lead role and appreciation also needs to go out to young Agnieszka Pawelkiewicz for her contribution. Let me tell you, the director demanded alot of both of them.
The camera is left simply to observe the actor’s fine craft of inhabiting the mind body and soul of his character, in this case an ex-soldier returning home to his house in rural Poland, after an extended time away. But there is no respite. He’s expecting guests and is on high alert.
The plot only slowly reveals more clues as to who he is, what has happened and indeed, what is happening now. But it is a delicious reveal. As an audience we are captivated and ready for each chip as it is dished up.
It will be interesting to see whether an American star sees this film and decides he has to do a remake. It’s one of those roles actors cry out for, showcasing their abilities more than effects or clever repartee.
This is also a first film for Cinematographer Michal Pakulski, having worked his way up the traditional way through the camera, from Gaffer to Operator and finally here lighting and lensing and he has done a superb job, with a real understanding of what the script and the central character required of him, helping augment the story without becoming the story. Hopefully he too will move from strength to strength on the back of this fine feature debut.
So, a salty introduction it is too, my appetite whetted for more from the Polish school of film. Let’s face it, when the Poles get it right, there really is no finer film to be had. AT
Kinoteka, the 11th Polish Film Festival runs 7-17th March 2013 in London, Belfast, Edinburgh, Liverpool.