Jan Kidawa-Błoński emerged from a directorial hibernation in the 1990s with Różyczka (Little Rose, 2010), a Polish counterpart to the East Germany spy movie The Lives of Others (2006). The film seemed to prove that Kidawa-Błoński had finally discovered the recipe for recognition, blending equal parts of melodrama and suspense. It’s no wonder, therefore, that the Polish director has opted for a similar formula in W ukryciu (In Hiding), which has been publicised domestically as an erotic thriller set during the closing stages of World War II.
The film recounts the traumatic bonding between Janina (Magdalena Boczarska), a bourgeois girl from Radom, and Jewish ballerina Ester (Julia Pogrebińska). Janina’s father hides Ester under the floor of his apartment. The two girls, separated by a trap door, eventually form a relationship. When Janina kills her Nazi-collaborator neighbour, Mirski (Jacek Braciak), to protect her hidden guest, the bond of complicity between the girls ignites their libido.
The reproductions of locations and props show Kidawa-Błoński’s penchant for historical authenticity. He stakes all on a morbid curiosity over the deterioration of a wartime relationship built on Stockholm syndrome. The cinematography is refined, but the erotic scenes with Janina and Ester are arid and guarded. W ukryciu is based on an alluring story filmed with the zeal of an antique dealer, but will hardly delight the public or critics.