Published Sep 10, 2012Having established a shrewd eye for generational malaise in the face of modern Capitalist Poland with rough, but incisive teen satire Mall Girls, director Katarzyna Roslaniec's follow-up feature, Baby Blues, doesn't come as much of a surprise, similarly having an ear for teen dialogue and behaviour, only with the central premise of teen parenthood substituting for consumption.
Amusingly, Roslaniec posits it as another variation on the consumer cycle, featuring the 17-year-old Natalia (Magdelena Berus) toting around her infant like an accessory and an aid for romantic attention from the father, Kuba (Nikodem Rozbicki), a skateboarding, pothead, videogame enthusiast. As Natalia's mother complains about the added expenses and responsibilities of having another child in the house, eventually running off to make money outside of the Polish economy, Kuba's parents attempt to manoeuvre their way in and control the situation.
With a similarly heightened aesthetic colour palette to Mall Girls, the critique here is of moral instability in a climate of political change. Natalia routinely borrows money from neighbours and friends, only to spend it on clothing and liquor instead of baby food. The allure of club lifestyles and high-end retail establishments is ultimately more appealing to this well-intentioned, but id-driven teen mom, which eventually leads to tragic results.
Giving a foreboding sense of impending cultural doom, Roslaniec again establishes her voice as one of contempt. She also establishes a disturbingly realist vision of modern society, where teenage girls think nothing of offering up their bodies for the opportunity to work in low-end retail establishments or casually snort cocaine while holding an infant.
This isn't intended to shock so much as it's presented as is: an unflattering quotidian where morality and self-respect are secondary to fleeting modes of validation. (Zentropa)