A Film about Life - Pawel and Ewa

Film žycia - Pawel i Ewa

Film o životě - Pavel a Eva

  • Michal Rogalski
  • Poland
  • 2002, 55 min
Photography: Michal Rogalski
Editing: Michal Rogalski
Music: Jan Komar

The parents and their two kids. A poor family in a poor village. The first view: apple trees in blossom, implying an idyll. A house, its backyard, the man who belongs to the garden and the field, his wife. It would almost appear that what we are viewing is yet another conventional tale of a return to nature, to a Rousseau–type model as a reaction to modern society. But this family is poor indeed and, in the emptiness of the flat fields, has no chance to turn things around.

A train passes but the main characters will never board it. The departure of the train isolates the seasons of the year from one another, and it is on the background of these seasons that we enter the farmstead which lives below the poverty line. Literally, we enter it: the director has come to liver with the family, has become its fifth member whose presence with the camera has become routine to the family and to whom the family members came to address themselves as to their kin.

The author does not want to be regarded as omniscient, hedoes not want that (his) characters become mere objects being described from without, objects which are being commented upon. He just records their simple lives. Thus, any predestination of this view becomes dissolved in the framework of their daily lives where the un–stylized scenes gathered therefrom are themselves immanent images of human aspirations, concerns and needs, their sorrows and their joys. The film does not offer any commentary.

However, a film produced in this fashion can merely demonstrate, and therefore, knowing its limits, merely allows the individual family images to merge – thus the anthropology of a family is becoming distinct merely thanks to the links among the family members. The director came to know the characters of his film in a village near the town of Lodž where he has been studying at a film school.

Pawel and Ewa lived nearby, once they came to help and this brought them in front of the movie camera. They intrigued the director so that he eventually was coming back to the village over a period of two years, in order to produce a continuous recording of their lives.

It was Kazimierz Karabasz, who while supervising this student project has pointed out that life is constituted of un–dramatic existence, of the statements ofminor, unimportant moments, and that a film which works with them must above all make use of the openness of these moments, of those instants when things are happening and placidly devolve from one to another unclosed, non–literal and self–contained. And this is what the sensitiveness of living together relates to. This is explained by the director using a simple example of a scene involving an old Wartburg car which breaks down. When the family failed to start the engine, he took a while to choose between recording their misery and helping them. Then he took his decision: he let the camera record the event from a tripod while he himself went to help them.

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Festival edition: 2002
Sections: Between the Seas


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