The Art of Loving

First I wanted to write a list of Polish movies available on German Netflix. Something useful for the challenging times and little bit of inspiration for what to watch these days, when we should all stay at home. Bu then I saw the movie Sztuka Kochania on Netflix I realized that it’s better to start with describing it first. Check out why.

Background

The title of the movie is actually: Sztuka Kochania. Historia Michaliny Wisłockiej. It was translated into English as The Art of Love and the second part was skipped. Let me translate it for you: the story of Michalina Wisłocka. Michalina Wisłocka was Polish gynecologist, born in 1921 and she passed away in 2005. You might think, that her profession isn’t interesting to such extent, to become not only an important doctor but also the icon? You might be wrong!

Wisłocka dedicated her life to propagate new approach towards sex life. She helped many women by teaching them more about how to have fulfilling erotic life. She also claimed that this is exactly what cements the family: embracing making love and our soul at the same time. How she did it? By being a good doctor and helping her patients. By helping each woman, who heard about her practice and asled her for advice on the streeet or in the cafe. Just wherever they saw Wisłocka, she was ready to help.

Book becomes a phenomenon

It wasn’t only her doctor’s practice. Her most important work is handbook : Sztuka Kochania (The Art of Loving). It was published in 1976, under communist government and in the country where the majority (even though some of them only on the paper) are catholics. And Catholic Church doesn’t like to talk directly about sex life. Seven million copies were sold and we shouldn’t forget, that one copy wasn’t read only by one person. People were eagerly lending it to the others. Small act of solidarity. Many illegal copies were printed as well.

The movie is a typical biography, which shows Michalina Wisłocka’s life as well as why she decided to wrote a book, what inspired her to do this. Step by step we understand why it was so hard to publish this type of a book in 1970s Poland. Let’s not forget, that these were the times when the government decided what’s going to published and what won’t. They also reviewed the manuscripts. Thus for these, who watch Polish movies and at the same time learn about Poland: here you can see exactly how big power and control the Polish government had over the culture. I don’t want to explain to much to not damage you the joy of watching. So let’s talk about the cast and crew.

Made by woman for women

But not only women! However, the more I’m thinking about it, the more I can’t stop thinking that it’s perfect movie to embrace femininity. Sztuka kochania was directed by Maria Sadowska. You might know her thanks to a movie Dzień Kobiet. Check the link here: https://thepolishcinephile.com/dzien-kobiet/ to read more about Dzień Kobiet as well as the director. Sadowska definitely did a tremendous job also here. Michalina Wisłocka was played by Magdalena Boczarska. She’s convincing and perfect for this role. Her way of walking, talking, showing two different Michalina’s: fragile woman trying to make career and strong gynecologist fighting for her book, all of these causes that she deserves an applause. Worth mentioning is aslo Piotr Adamaczyk. He’s name knows probably everyone in Poland, as he’s most important role was the one of John Paul II. His name is quite good assurance for a good movie (with some exceptions).

I know that male part of the audience would probably like to know more about the actress who played Wanda (well, at least my boyfriend was amazed by the natural beauty of this actress). She was played by Justyna Wasilewska and I must admit, that I haven’t seen her in any other movie before. In 2017, the year Sztuka Kochania was released in the cinemas, she played in six movies (!). Her debut was already in 2002 and yet, I’ve never seen a movie with her before.

I loved the movie’s settings. It’s similar to other Polish movie, Pani z przedszkola (All about my parents). Therefore I checked who was responsible for set design but no, these were two different people. Pure coincidence. Maybe the light? All in all, the reality of the daily communism is shown really good.

Inspiration

In these changing times both book and movie can surve as inspiration. I’m 90s child, who didn’t get a chance to read a book, because the times were different and we were “lucky” to learn officialy at school or by reading magazines. “Lucky” because it was pure biology, Wisłocka doesn’t forget in her book about soul. I couldn’t find the book in a foreign language but I’m pretty sure, that there are many others handbooks. Which explain simple need of love and being loved.

Stay tuned for the list of the Polish movies! I’m still planning to post it in few days and for now you can start with The Art of Love.

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