28 March 2008

Pora Umierac (Time to Die)

I had the great fortune of catching this at the EU Film Festival here in Chicago - I don't know if it will get a wider release, but if you get the chance, by all means, watch it. Despite the rather grim title, it's a delightfully joyous movie. I think me and everyone I went and saw it with left the theatre feeling exalted and inspired.

First off, the cinematography is just mindblowingly fantastic. The film is in black and white, and the quality of light, the kinds of shots... god, it's incredible. Probably worth watching for that alone.

But the story is also delightful. The film follows an old lady who refuses to sell her beautiful old house to encroaching developers. That's a rather crude summary though. Honestly, most of the movie features the woman talking to her dog, which might sound boring, but absolutely is not. There's something darkly comic about it,  I'm tempted to say Beckettian but it's a bit too warm and human for that. My friend Jen pointed out that a good portion of the emotional tone of the film is set by the dog's expressions and reactions - absolutely true. The dog deserves some kind of acting accolade, along with the cat from 2 Days in Paris

It's rare, as my friend Ruchama pointed out, to see a good movie that centers around an old lady. And this one, played by Danuta Szaflarska (the movie was apparently written for her) is absolutely fantastic. She's sharp, feisty, thoughtful, kind, radiantly beautiful, and generally exactly the kind of woman that I hope to be when I grow up. 

A marvelous movie.

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