Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Provincial Actors

1979, Poland, directed by Agnieszka Holland (original title: Aktorzy prowincjonaln)

It has been a very long time since I've watched anything from Poland, but not for the first time I was struck by the way in which a number of Polish directors were able to make interesting, even pointed films in apparently unpromising circumstances in the 1970s and 1980s. There's a strong, and welcome, female perspective at work here -- a male director might have pushed the theatrical satire further but left to one side the exploration of how the lead actor's problems on stage and at home were part of a continuum, and I found the character of the lead actor's wife to be quite fascinating in her own attempts to navigate a world of power (in multiple senses). Her journey is also very affecting on the emotional level. The debates between actors and other theatre personnel were deeply compelling for the sense in which they must surely have mirrored the processes of daily life in Poland for the people employed on the film. 

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States