The next position on my discovering journey is Pani z przedszkola (Engl. title: All about my parents). I heard about this movie for the first time while visiting Poland some other day and choosing a movie to watch it in a cinema. Back then I decided for something else so once I saw the DVD (and I must admit, that the price under 1 EUR was also really convincing), I decided to catch up with this title.
It was directed by Marcin Krzyształowicz. I never heard about him and his so far the most successful movie in Poland, Obława. Where to start with? After I finished watching the movie, something was missing. It seems to be one of these artworks, where director uses his own biography to create a story and thus conducts some kind of self-examination. It’s nothing new and the most recent example of that is Pawlikowski’s Cold War, inspired by the directors’ parents. Neverthless, inspired be own memories or not, I wasn’t sure if I at the end I liked the movie or not. The story is centered around three-year-old boy, who tells us how kindergartenand especially his teacher (hence the titlem well, at least the polish one) changed his family life. This is was problematic for me, while watching the movie. The memories are told from the perspective of a three-year-old boy (we never get to know his name). We also find out, that we see these memories because the Adult Boy (we keep calling him like this) searches for psychological help and needs to find the source for his adult problem: too early ejaculation. Where’s my problem with his problem? How come that you can recall your memories so well? I sometimes have problems recalling what exactly I felt when I was 11 or 12 years old. I mean EXACTLY, because the story doesn’t skip any details. The Boy knows exactly what happened and why. Yes, it could be thanks to the psychological help but to which extent?
What I did love about this movie were the colours! This tactic was little bit dangerous, because one associate’s communist Poland rather with greyness or, let’s say, at least not so “happy” like in the movie. Happy colours? Does something like that exists?! I just can’t find other words as the colours really gave the movie life and eccentric expression. I also liked camera movements and some of the shots. It was a pleasure watching such creativity. The whole cinematography suited perfectly to the movie genre: comedy. It also helped to accept the story problem I mentioned before. There are also some other points, which we need to accept. Little boy only started to visit kindergarten, but managed to get comics and even read them! Yes, that was little bit too much… I can understand the temptation of creating interesting scenes, which were possible only by introducing comics but I couldn’t stop thinking, how unreal it was. But comedy means exaggerating and we can’t expect only reality. Or maybe he was only watching drawings? There’s also one scene when the boy has all his face bandaged and his parents expect that he finishes his meal. Well, we need to accept such “funny moments” even though this scene seems to be an easy solution to make someone laugh. Indeed in this moment I reminded myself what movie genre it is. It helped. Actors! The movie has a great crew, with some well-known names also among foreign audience: Agata Kulesza as mother (Ida) and Karolina Gruszka (Inland Empire) as kindergarten teacher are amazing. The same I can say for Adam Woronowicz as father. The last but not least, Krystyna Janda, who recently received the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Believe me, they create an unforgettable family. Here’s one more “plus” for the movie: the idea of psychological help. We experience the movie as the main chracter goes deeper into his memories. We also get introduced each character in a way, psychological treatment works: analyzing all people who influenced our life and could be the answer to our problem.
Worth mentioning are also polish accents, one can see in the movie. It’s all about kindergarten, so let’s start with it: milk soup. I can remember it from my time as a child and yes, how aweful it tasted. Though I didn’t like the comparison of the soup to the war (let’s not exaggerate…), yes indeed everyone could easily recall the taste and for sure also the choice you got: milk soup with rice or pasta? The second one was much better because the milk didn’t seep into pasta so much like into rice and thus the taste was more acceptable. Christmas, another big, if not huge, topic while tallking about the polish culture. It’s the most important event and even now, we do spend it mostly with our families. The movie showed the communist Christmas and the presents, one got under the tree. It sound funny now but used to be a harsh reality. From the movie I can recall especially voucher for the tropical fruits like oranges, very rare at that time. And of course, pen with the picture of Virgin Mary which the family gave grandma. Carp in bathtube, yes, I can also remember this even though I didn’t experience communism anymore. As funny as it was to see it, I hope that this tradition of buying live carps and killing them at home will do disappear soon.
Overall, I liked the movie and can recommend it to anyone, who wants to see something between arthouse and a feel-good movie. The story itself is tough, but with all its funny moments and vivid colours, we forget about how difficult it could be to experience it in real life.