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Poland, 2011, 61 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Art/Filmmaking, Documentary
Program: Focus on Nation Cinema: ArgentinaLanguage: Polish, Spanish English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Wojciech Staron
Producer: Malgorzata StaronEditor: Zbyszek Osinski, Wojciech StaronScreenwriter: Wojciech StaronCinematographer: Wojciech StaronPrincipal Cast: Marcia Majcher, Janek Staron
In this beautifully observed hybrid of documentary and feature film, Polish filmmaker and cinematographer Wojciech Staron turns the camera on his eight-year-old son, Janek, as the family spends a year in Argentina. Largely wordless, this feast for the senses uses the language of gesture, action, movement, faces, and nature to create a window on childhoods affected by the pressures of the adult world. Staron works so unobtrusively that his subjects lose their self-consciousness and the story tells itself.
Janek’s mother begins teaching Polish classes, which draw Marcia, an 11-year-old of Polish descent who has become the anchor of her fractured family. So while Janek and Marcia practice handstands, teach each other to swim, and wend their way through the demands of school and the protocols of the Roman Catholic Church, their everyday experiences also include finding ways to earn money. They make bricks; they work in an orchard; Marcia finds employment as a maid. But her workday doesn’t end there. She must also care for her ailing mother and her absentee, down-on-his-luck father. She shares it all with her new friend, Janek, whose eyes are opened to a new reality.
Staron won the Silver Bear for Best Cinematography at the Berlinale in 2011 and has directed numerous documentaries, including Siberian Lesson, in which he followed his girlfriend to the Lake Baikal region, where she taught Polish. In 2011, Argentinian Lesson swept the Grand Prix at film festivals in Poland, Russia, Italy, Austria and China.
- VAL MOSES
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