Previously at the ICA - Films
19 Nov 2016 – 1 Dec 2016
It is the beginning of the 1990s and Polish society is trying to redefine itself after years of stagnation. Schools are being named ‘Solidarność’, the first West German spa visitors are bringing hard currency into the country, porn videos are doing the rounds and TV constantly repeats images of the trial of Romanian dictator Ceaușescu. But private emotions remain untouched by these external changes: all the hopes and longings caught between work, family and religion, desire and abstinence.
Wasilewski portrays four women in a small provincial town. Agata is attracted to a priest and secretly observes him. Iza is a head teacher who has been having a long-standing affair with a married doctor. Russian language teacher Renata seeks a closer relationship with her young neighbour Marzena who teaches sports and dance, while Marzena herself dreams of an international career as a model.
Shot in desaturated colours and with a muted production design, this drama reflects upon the attempts to escape an anti-pleasure, body-hating environment. Wasilewski’s subject is the death throes of a society – and the emotional impoverishment of the individual.
United States of Love, dir. Tomasz Wasilewski, Poland/Sweden 2016, 104 mins, Polish with English subtitles.