Polish Grotesque:Cinema of Marek Koterski

On Tuesday, August 7, a new initiative opens at Kino Pod Baranami featuring the Polish film “Ajlawiu” (directed by Marek Koterski) with English subtitles. Now foreigners can learn about Poland by watching locally produced films.  Although this is not Marek Koterski’s best work, Kino Pod Baranami chose “Ajlawiu” as an easy introduction to Polish films for foreigners. The main character, Adas Miauczynski, is present in almost every film made by Koterski, excluding ?Porno.? He is the main protagonist of “Ajlawiu,” as well.  Some of Marek Koterski?s films can even be called grotesque comedies, though some get closer to artistic, auteur cinema. Their specific quality may make them less amusing for some viewers, sometimes even appearing abusive.  Koterski is a controversial director in Poland. His film “Porno” (“Porn”) is known as the first erotic Polish film. In “Dzien Swira” (“Day of the Wacko”) the protagonist uses an extreme amount of abusive language, despite being a Polish language teacher. He once said, “I am not a linguist. I use strong language to express feelings or deep thoughts? I think some abusive words have no equivalent in normal language.” He doesn’t omit excessive sex scenes either, saying, “Some of my friends say I might be slightly sexually overactive.” That is what can be expected from “Ajlawiu.” Adas Miauczynski evolves slowly in each film. In “Zycie Wewnetrzne” (“Inner Life”) he hates his wife who he will later divorce. She appears in other movies, too. For example, in “Nic Smiesznego” (“Nothing Funny”) she accidentally kills Adas. His relationship with his son in “Ajlawiu,” “Dzien Swira” and “Wszyscy jestesmy Chrystusami” (“We’re All Christs”), played by the director’s son Michal Koterski, are empty and false. Adas feels he failed as a father.  Generally Adas doesn’t feel successful in anything. “Dzien swira” can be called a rant of the painful everyday life of a Pole. Poles generally like complaining about their surroundings, but Adas Miauczynski represents all of Poland’s problems in one, depressed, swearing character. “Nic smiesznego” emphasizes on professional failure. Adas Miauczynski is an unsuccessful filmmaker, but his sexual problems don’t disappear. Koterski’s cinema deals with the spiritual fall of a human being, revealed on the surface through overdeveloped sexual needs. Adas in “Zycie wewnetrzne? (“Life on the Surface”) always imagines himself having sex with neighbors. Sex in “Ajlawiu” sometimes appears as the most important aspect of the pair?s emotional life. “Porno” is an enormous collection of all the protagonist’s lovers.  Adas changes as he gets older. In “Dzien swira” he dreams of a perfect woman who would accept all his little bizarre activities and needs. He seems to be aware that such a person does not exist, because he lives in his own imaginary world. Marek Koterski is one of the few Polish filmmakers to develop his own style. His name is already quite well known, giving him freedom to film what he really wants. Seeing “Ajlawiu” or his other films is certainly worthwhile as they contain some real characteristics of a specific Polish soul.

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