Kino Mania: ‘Tower. Bright Day’ (‘Wieza. Jasny dzien’)

Tower. A Bright Day (2017, dir. Jagoda Szelc)
Tower. A Bright Day (2017, dir. Jagoda Szelc)

Starring: Anna Krotoska, Malgorzata Szczerbowska, Anna Zubrzycki
Directed by: Jagoda Szelc
Rating: ★★★★☆

Young Polish cineastes have been champing at the bit in recent years, but some more than others. Drawing-educated Jagoda Szelc succeeded in completing her feature debut effort before obtaining a diploma at the Łódź Film School. By getting there fast, the Wroclawian filmmaker could motivate the most tenacious of her peers looking for a shortcut to the big screen career in Poland.

Tower. A Bright Day (Wieza. Jasny dzien) narrates the tale of two sisters, Kaja (Malgorzata Szczerbowska) and Mula (Anna Krotowska), who embody wilderness and civilization, respectively. Kaja turns up again in the life of her relatives after a five-year hiatus to attend the First Comunion of Mula’s daughter in the Beskid mountains. Kaja’s presence seems to shake the balance and well-being in her family, for some inexplicable reasons as well.

Here comes into play Szelc’s audacity as a filmmaker exposing the eyes and ears of the viewer to jump cuts and the uncanny ringing that hum in the heads of Kaja and Mula. The nature in Tower. Bright Day is less insidious than it could seem at first. Similarly, the sudden appearance of an Arab refugee trekking into a forest is just a MacGuffin that barely suggests an additional layer of otherness in the screenplay.

Tower. A Bright Day was a sensation at the most recent edition of the Gdynia Film Festival, also by reason of its a vaguely zombiesque and Bunuel-tainted finale on a silent hill. Krotoska and Szczerbowska, who could have not express better the inner uneasiness in their roles, will be talked about the domestic film industry in the next years. Szelc’s casual approach to genre conventions in her metaphysics-injected debut film is all but a youthful indiscretion.

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