Films: To Kill a Beaver

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To Kill a Beaver  {Zabic bobra}

To Kill a Beaver
Zabic bobra

Poland, 2012, 100 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Psychological, Romance, Thriller
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: Polish English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Jan Jakub Kolski
Producer: Wieslaw Lysakowski
Editor: Pitor Kolski
Screenwriter: Jan Jakub Kolski
Cinematographer: Michal Pakulski
Principal Cast: Eryk Lubos, Agnieszka Pawelkiewicz, Alexandra Michael, Marek Kasprzyk

War-weary loner Eryk returns to his trashed-out family home in rural Poland after serving what seems to have been a traumatic stint in the Chechen war. A scraggly teenage girl named Bezi (Polish shorthand for “nameless”) has taken up residence there, even going so far as to decorate an upper bedroom. They form an uneasy association, which quickly grows into something more needy and desperate and restless.


Flashbacks from the war plague Eryk. His current employer, a man with a computer-distorted voice, calls for updates on what might be preparations for an assassination. Surveillance cameras that he’s installed make him feel alternately jumpy and safe. Eryk’s efforts to get information and help from colleagues in the intelligence business are fruitless. While he learns more about his companion and the situation that has made her hide from her family, he pursues his own agenda, including a confrontation with the girl’s father and a revenge shootout. The girl disappears. And as his memories of his wife dribble back, it becomes clear that Eryk’s take on reality may not be spot-on. A final twist resolves questions about trust and perception.


Director Jan Jakub Kolski (Funeral for a Potato, Pornography), known primarily for his forays into magic realism, here creates an atmosphere that is poetic and brutal, a paean to both man’s inhumanity and the human soul’s need for love.


- VAL MOSES

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