Made in Poland: Berlin Review

Angry underground cinema, definitely not at its best.

A loud, self-absorbed political critique from director Przemyslaw Wojcieszek that thinks it's more revolutionary than it is.

BERLIN – Przemyslaw Wojcieszek’s black-and-white (and sometimes red) Made in Poland won’t be traveling far from where it was made. Adapted from the director’s play (which was originally written as a screenplay), what’s meant to be a punk rock critique of the country’s political, religious and social attitudes comes off as a self-absorbed delirium.

Made in Poland is interspersed with black-on-red animation that divides the film into sequences named after songs from the Clash, Sex Pistols and Massive Attack, among others. The animation is underscored by homophobic, racist and apocalyptic ravings from a religious radio station.

The black-and-white photography is as stark as the city in which the film was made, Wroclaw, while some short scenes are red — either shot through a filter or with the color superimposed in post-production.

High school dropout Bogus (Piotr Wawer) lives in a rundown tenement with his mother (Magdalena Kuta-Jastrzebska), whose only passion in life is a pop singer from Poland’s socialist era. Bogus wakes up one morning, tattoos “Fuck off” on his forehead and decides he’s going to unleash his rage in a revolution against “the whores” who’ve sold out to “the system.” Said revolution starts with the demolishing of phone booths and cars, which lands him in trouble with local thugs.

When petty destruction doesn’t prove cathartic enough, he tells off his priest (Przemyslaw Bluszcz) and seeks guidance from a former teacher (Janusz Chabior), fired for his alcoholism.

Mixing realism and grotesque comedy, the film is a muddle of facile, supposedly alternative rhetoric set to a raunchy guitar soundtrack. There is one great performance here, from Chabior, who manages to shake off the affectation of the writing in his role as a cynical, poetry-loving drunk.

Venue: Berlin International Film Festival (Forum)
Production companies: Gruppa Rafal Widajewicz, Canal Plus Cyfrowy
Cast: Piotr Wawer, Janusz Chabior, Marta Powalowska, Magdalena Kuta-Jastrzebska, Przemyslaw Bluszcz, Wieslaw Cichy, Grzegorz Sowa
Director/screenwriter: Przemyslaw Wojcieszek
Producers: Pawel Rakowksi, Rafal Widajewicz
Director of photography: Jola Dylewska.
Production designer: Natalia Kabanow
Animation: Krzysztof Ostrowski
Music: Kuba Kapsa
Costume designer: Joanna Pitura.
Editor: Daniel Ziola
No rating, 84 minutes

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