Kino Mania: Spoor (2017)

Starring: Agnieszka Mandat, Jakub Gierszal, Miroslav Krobot, Wiktor Zborowski
Directed by: Agnieszka Holland
Rating: ★★★★☆

A few cineastes in Poland have the power of prophecy. Coupled with women’s intuition, the margin for error is almost insignificant.

Agnieszka Holland won the heart of the moviegoers at the Berlin International Film Festival with a “feminist version of Django Unchained“, as she has referred to her most recent film, based on a novel from Olga Tokarczuk, another influential Polish female creator. Undoubtedly, the filmmaker displayed a great timing on the domestic market to release Spoor (Polish title: Pokot). The debate over Poland’s environment policy has indeed recently flared up due to pro-hunting measures and a permissive law on logging on private land that came into effect in January 2017.

Janina Duszejko (Agnieszka Mandat), the leading character, is a hardened animal-rights advocate who witnesses a series of murders in the Sudetes Mountains. The victims are all hunters, and not by chance. The cirque in the Klodzko Valley is a perfect natural coliseum to overlook the deeds of Holland’s gunless “Lady Django”, who is as much furious and determined as the best female characters from Park Chan-wook’s filmography.

Still, Spoor is all but a green pamphlet on the big screen. Enriched with some majestic close-ups of wild animals caught in their natural habitat and framed à la Sergei Parajanov, Holland’s film is a sturdy environmental thriller film drenched in a very Czech black humour that could charm trappers and mushroom hunters alike. Spoor received the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize in Berlin.

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