A lady affected by amnesia is awkwardly reunited along with her household within the second function by Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska (‘The Lure’).
Somebody with amnesia discovering darkish secrets and techniques should be one of many corniest cinematic clichés going, however Polish-set co-production Fugue manages to torque this materials in a newish route. Directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska, whose mermaid-centric curio The Lure had a restricted North American launch final yr, this moody however extra standard drama stars angular Gabriela Muskala, additionally the movie’s screenwriter, as a girl uncomfortably reunited along with her husband (Lukasz Simlat) and younger son after a two-year absence. Anchored by finely grained performances, even from now-seven-years-old Iwo Rajski as the child, the work examines with unblinking honesty simply how friable the bonds may be not solely between spouses, however even between a mom and baby.
It could be a bit too trustworthy and chilly for some viewers, however for many who swoon over stark visuals, bleak landscapes and Slavic miserabilism amongst sad households, watching this can really feel like each Christmas got here directly.
The opening sequence, displaying a bottle blonde (Muskala) in excessive heels and raveled garments climbing onto a subway platform from the tracks after which urinating on the bottom earlier than shocked onlookers, indicators among the bourgie-baiting perspective but to come back. This defiance of standard decorum will discomfit prim viewers notably in Poland, a staunchly Catholic and conformist society.
The plot instantly jumps ahead a few years, and the girl from the subway now has a spiky, cropped hairdo, leopard-print leggings and goes by the title of Alicja since she will be able to’t keep in mind what her title was earlier than. Inspired by her psychiatrist Michal (Piotr Skiba), Alicja goes on a nationwide TV program to inform her story. Whereas on air, a person (Zbigniew Walerys) calls in claiming he acknowledges her as his daughter Kinga who went lacking a couple of years again. An actual information story similar to this impressed the making of the movie.
Alicja/Kinga travels to a rural a part of the nation to satisfy her household who appear to be whole strangers to her, a tribe that features her mom (Halina Rasiakowna), her husband Krysztof (Simlat) and son Daniel (Rajski), who would not acknowledge her any greater than she acknowledges him and calls friend-of-the-family Ewa (Malgorzata Buczkowska) “mother.” What’s extra, Alicja appears completely bored with reconnecting along with her brood, not even Daniel, and claims all she needs is to get all of the paperwork she wants to accumulate a brand new identification card. Despatched to stay with Krysztof and Daniel, she walks round their spacious nation home bare aside from an open shirt, laughs inappropriately and glares coldly at anybody who tries to inform her tales about her previous life.
Smoczynska and Muskala dole out the revelations about what occurred and why in tiny little increments and, except I missed a serious plot level, by no means fairly reply Alicja/Kinga’s query to Krysztof about what went improper of their marriage. However as an alternative of expository dialogue, clues appear to come back from significant appears to be like exchanged throughout rooms, permitting the viewer to attach the dots herself and draw her personal conclusion. DP Jakub Kijowski and Smoczynska typically body Alicja/Kinga individually to others in lots of the scenes, and quite a few lengthy distance pictures utilizing wide-angle lenses create the sense that we’re watching the entire drama unfold by a microscope. Sound and music are equally chilling, virtually mechanical.
A tiny chink of sunshine is let in emotionally by the regularly rising friendship between Alicja/Kinga and Daniel, however the movie hints strongly by the tip that issues won’t ever be the identical once more. Such a questioning of the primacy of maternal intuition remains to be an uncomfortable proposition, particularly on this extra conventional cultural setting. Nevertheless it’s additionally the kink that makes the movie extra fascinating than the same old thriller about reminiscence loss.
Venue: Cannes Film Pageant (Critics’ Week)
Manufacturing: A MD4, Axman Manufacturing, Frequent Floor Photos manufacturing in co-production with Odra-Film, Mazowiecki i Warszawski Fundusz Filmowy, Magic Lab, Michal Krecek, Film i Huge, Tomas Eskilsson, Katarina Krave manufacturing
Solid: Gabriela Muskala, Lukasz Simlat, Malgorzata Buczkowska, Zbigniew Walerys, Halina Rasiakowna, Piotr Skiba, Iwo Rajski
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Screenwriter: Gabriela Muskala
Producers: Agnieszka Kurzydlo, Karla Stojáková, Jonas Kellagher
Director of pictures: Jakub Kijowski
Manufacturing designer: Jagna Dobesz
Costume designer: Monika Kaleta
Editor: Jaroslaw Kaminski
Music: Filip Misek
Casting: Zywia Kosinka
Gross sales: Alpha Violet