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Psychodramas: Shorts Programs I


Location: Bartos Screening Room

Total running time: 85 mins. In Polish with English subtitles.

Psychodrama (Dir. Marek Piwowski. 1969, 28 mins., Digital projection) In Poland, Piwowski is known as a master of wry humor, mostly remembered for the comic cult classic, Rejs (The Cruise, 1970). It is a surprise then to watch his heartbreaking tale of girls in a psychiatric facility for adolescents. Polish documentarians, from Marcel Łoziński and Krzysztof Kieślowski to Paweł Łoziński, have captured psychoanalytic therapy methods on the screen, but no film has been so poignant. The girls stage a dreamy, dark fairytale—a metaphor for their traumas.

Sisters (Dir. Paweł Łoziński. 1999, 12 mins. Digital projection) Łoziński’s short, centered on a single walk, made by two elderly sisters inside their city-block’s courtyard, is a delicate study of familial love. Łoziński has dedicated much of his practice to the complexities of thorny relationships. From envy to the need for control, Sisters celebrates love and companionship, while remaining attentive to its pains.

Close Ties (Dir. Zofia Kowalewska. 2016, 18 mins. Digital projection) On the day of their 45th wedding anniversary, Barbara and Zdzisław tally the emotional balance of their marriage: Since abandoning his wife eight years ago, Zdzisław has lost her respect. Barbara took him back, but her hurt brims to the surface on their crucial day. This debut short by a promising young filmmaker has won a number of awards, including a special jury award for best student film at IDFA.

Starting Point (Dir. Michał Szczęśniak. 2014, 27 mins. Digital projection) In the tradition of Poland’s cinema of the 1980s, Szczęśniak’s short is preoccupied with moral dilemmas. While serving a prison sentence, a young woman, Aneta, volunteers to work with the elderly. An encounter with a patient who has been incapacitated since adolescence, and prevented from living life to the fullest, proves cathartic. Moved by the woman’s empathy and undaunted spirit, Aneta opens up about her troubled past.

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