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Monday, February 2, 2015

Film: "Shameless"

This is the movie "Shameless", by Polish director Michal Kwiecinsk. (You can watch it here.)

I have to say, I was surprised at how good a movie it is. It revolves around Tadzik, and his older half-sister Ana. He’s been in love with her his whole life, and she knows it, but she keeps pushing him farther away. Sometime in the past she kicked him out of her house, though it’s never explained why. (My guess is that they became too “close”, and she was uncomfortable with her own emotions.) When he visits unannounced over summer break, he finds that she’s engaged to the head of a local Neo-Nazi group. Tadzik is also befriended by Irmina, the daughter of a local Roma family. She bristles under the sexism in her family, and falls in love with Tadzik, possibly seeing him as a way out. During all this, her family is under constant attack by the Neo-Nazis. Rescuing Ana from her fiancée becomes Tadzik’s obsession, at the expense of everyone else.

I’ve watched quite a few movies involving consanguinamory. Usually, they’re melodramatic and try to make it seem inherently wrong or dysfunctional. "Shameless" doesn’t fall into any trap. It doesn’t have an agenda either way, to make it seem positive or negative. It just is. Kwiecinsk has said that he was just trying to depict life in Poland as it actually is, and that lack of agenda really helps the movie. It deals with consanguinamory, sexism, arranged marriage, racism, abusive relationships, sexual harassment, poverty, and political corruption.

So, yeah. I think it's a good movie.

Edit (SPOILERS): One scene in the movie has been bothering me. It's a weirdly racist scene, thematically out of place in the movie. I've been trying to figure out why it's there. I think perhaps it's to show that Ana sort of agrees with her boyfriend because of the one guy who harasses her, and that she doesn't deserve the pedestal that Tadzik puts her on. The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that the movie is trying to portray three primary characters whose motivations and behavior are sometimes sympathetic, and sometimes problematic. Tadzik's sometimes sweet, sometimes creepy behavior towards Ana is a good example of that.

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