Pole, who are you? This film collage that combines archival and contemporary materials, documentary and staged pictures, press reports, social announcements, sale offers and speech excerpts is an attempt to answer this question. Referring to the Polish tradition of a creative documentary in the style of Wojciech Wiszniewski, the film presents various manifestations of Polishness: patriotic and religious rituals, everyday traditions as well as characteristic landscapes or intimate memories from childhood.
This short documentary is conversation between mother and daughter. Mother – 66 years old, doctor, devout and practicing Catholic. Daughter – 35 years old, atheist, her two kids are borne thanks to in vitro. Her mother loves grandsons but at the same time she doesn’t accept the method. During a difficult and emotional conversation at the kitchen table they confront their views, talk about the past and the future. Daughter has a grudge against her mother about the lack of support during difficult process of infertility treatment. She worries how her mother’s intolerance would influence on her children in the future. They are discussing about influence of Church on mother views. Is the mother would prefer that the daughter she adopted children instead attempt in vitro? Should they tell kids about in vitro? How to talk about it?
Casa Blanca is a small fishing village on the Gulf of Havana. Nelsa (76) and her son Vladimir (37), who has Down syndrome, share a tiny room in an overcrowded multi-family building. Vladimir is the only caretaker for ailing Nelsa, and Nelsa is the only person to watch over Vladimir, who easily gets into trouble. Their relationship is filled with conflicts: she is trying to control her son, while he prefers to help fishermen at work, have fun and drink rum with them, rather than spend time with his mother. Every day Nelsa wanders the streets of Casa Blanca in search of her only child not returning home early. One day, she falls ill.
A story about a mother and a daughter who did not keep in touch for many years. When it turns out that Weronika, a daughter of the younger of them, did not return home from school on her birthday, the women decide to look for her together in spite of the tensions between them. The crisis and several hours spent in a car at night trigger long-hidden emotions and provoke a conversation about their relationship.
Tadeusz Rolke, an aged master of Polish photography, has more than just a typical teacher-student relationship with 15-year-old Michał. Together, they travel across Poland to take portrait photographs of the residents of small towns and villages while the dark room placed in their camper enables them to develop pictures on the spot and give them to the models whom they accidentally met. For the boy, this is an excellent opportunity to find out about the arcana of traditional photography. For both – an opportunity to experience a beautiful friendship.
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw was a despised gift from Stalin. After the system transformation in Poland some suggested to pull it down. But the palace is still standing and doing fine pulsating with the life of hundreds of offices, hosting a theatre, concert hall, cinema and even a swimming pool and city council room. Having already visited a clinic, hospital and registry office, this time Wolski with his camera enters the building that is a reflection of Poland’s everyday life and history. The nooks and crannies of the building and the crowds that fill it make a backdrop to apt and witty observations as well as an inspiration to more general diagnoses.
Sixteen-year old Dominik lives in Warsaw’s district Praga. Because of committed offences he will soon be placed in a social-therapeutic centre. In the last month of freedom he tries to catch up on all unfinished business – first of all he wants to record a rap song in the studio because rap has always been his passion. Meanwhile, the Christian missionaries appear on his street and offer him help in carrying out his musical plans. Thanks to a long conversation with them, the boy unexpectedly converts.
What happens behind the closed doors of surgical wards, treatment rooms and other spaces where specialist medical consultations take place? The film follows the everyday work of doctors in a surgical ward: the hierarchy between them, the need to take important decisions, the struggle with economic problems. Although they usually use a vernacular incomprehensible to an average person, they also tell jokes or insider’s anecdotes. Their work, despite the knowledge and experience acquired, may still involve surprising moments.
A documentary by Tomasz Wolski focuses on a slow, fragmentary observation of a small part of reality. Its centre is in a market square of a small town somewhere in the south of Poland. That’s where three springs of water have their origins, only several metres away from one another. A camera records reactions of passers-by and attentively watches their behaviour. Interestingly, in the majority of cases, the behaviour is totally different for each of the springs.
The Low Beskids. A small farm. Michał, Jan and Mateusz, men representing three generations, live under one roof. They lead peaceful, modest lives, submitting to the rhythm of nature which is an inseparable element of their existence. Almost without a word, with humility, they do their everyday, routine chores. How different it is from the scenes taking place a mere several metres away from their farm, where a busy street, constantly passing cars and noise personify a totally different world.