After directing Juliette Binoche in Elles (2012), Małgorzata Szumowska once more took inspiration from a news story for W imię. She opted for a subject even thornier than the one featured in her previous, unrewarding erotic movie.
The Polish filmmaker presented herself at the Berlinale 2013 with the story of Adam (Andrzej Chyra), a young progressive Catholic priest assigned to a rural parish who struggles with his homosexual impulses. Adam breaks the law written in the Book of Genesis by refusing the advances of a young blonde named Ewa ‘Eve’ (Maja Ostaszewska) but is not able to resist the charms of Łukasz (Mateusz Kościukiewicz), a taciturn fellow who looks remarkably like Jesus.
The relatively smooth reception of Szumowska’s movie among the most conservative sectors in Poland suggests that W imię is neither a pretentious succès de scandale nor an anti-clerical pamphlet. Nevertheless, Szumowska doesn’t shrink from touching on the code of silence often imposed by the higher echelons of the clergy.
The film, written in collaboration with cinematographer Michał Englert, focuses almost exclusively on the personal tribulations of Adam – torn between pleasure and spiritual duty. This dilemma is best represented by the sequence in which the drunken priest perilously waves a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI in the manner of a rock star about to smash a guitar.
The Teddy Award given to W imię in Berlin will grant Szumowska a fast track to the main film competitions worldwide.
Starring: Andrzej Chyra, Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Maja Ostaszewskak
Directed by: Małgorzata Szumowska
Krakow Post rating: 3/5