Spotlight on Poland 1

Spotlight on Poland 1
If this grouping of short films is any indication of the current political and ideological state in Poland, there are some serious economic and morale issues that have resulted in visible despondence and some intense artistic expression, made mostly by people named Andrzej. As a tourism video, this collection might be aptly titled: Come For The Poverty And Stay For The Underage Prostitution!

The most uplifting short comes at the beginning with Take a Look, wherein two blind children run their fingers over a texturally based painting of Saturn, assessing what they believe it to be through touch. Of course, Echo quickly quashes this feeling; it's an impressively made, appropriately washed-out short about two boys recounting their actions to police at the scene of a particularly gruesome murder. This one certainly isn't tailored for the Corner Gas crowd.

Two short documentaries pop up in the middle of the program as well, showing a nascent, stationary life for a typically nomadic Bulgarian Romani family in At the End of the Way. Here, we see how a changing economic landscape can change a way of life, leaving people lost and struggling, which is similarly the case in By the River, where men clear brush for meagre wages. Constant shots of nearby cityscapes and repeated comments of energy exertion versus cost-benefit make their own implications about class distinctions and the distribution of wealth.

Mother reveals the trying minutiae of an elderly woman travelling over 450 kilometres to visit her imprisoned son, when not helping with his family left behind. Similarly chipper is the final short film, Luxury, which clocks in at just over half-an-hour and follows an aging child prostitute coping with the fact that his pimp, rapist and ersatz father figure is trading him in for younger tail. Vacillating between Stockholm syndrome loyalty and the need for escape, he goes on the run with some new meat, a 12-year-old street boy with nothing in the world but his pet terrier.

Without shying away from some of the less savoury aspects of this world, this short easily makes this program worth checking out, even if it is somewhat painful and frustrating to watch.