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Anna Jadowska • Director

Where (and when) Wild Roses grow


- Writer-director Anna Jadowska talks to Cineuropa about the inspiration behind her award-winning film Wild Roses, and why she considers herself a chronicler of her time

Anna Jadowska  • Director
(© Monika Bereżecka)

Writer-director Anna Jadowska talks to Cineuropa about the inspiration behind her award-winning film Wild Roses [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Anna Jadowska
film profile
, and why she considers herself a chronicler of her time.

Cineuropa : The action in Wild Roses is set in the Polish countryside. Since you were raised in a similar environment, I’d like to ask if you portray the world of your childhood in the film?
Anna Jadowska
: I’m telling a contemporary story, but it’s true that I wrote it having places from my childhood in mind. I described locations such as the river, houses and wild rose plantation exactly as I remember them. Actually, the plantation was the most important place for me, fascinating and ambiguous. Beautiful, sensual and ominous at the same time. I’d been planning to write a story that would take place there for a long time. When my producers and I went to see my village, Ligota Mała (situated in Lower Silesia), it turned out that the wonderful plantation I remembered is not so alluring anymore. Now it’s smaller, narrow, other things grow where the pathway used to be and so on. The village itself has changed over the years too. The collective country life I remember doesn’t exist there anymore. Eventually none of the scenes for the film were shot in my village. We scouted the river next to Warsaw, and the plantation near the small town of Lądek.

I specifically asked when your film is set because it looks like time is standing still in the village you show. Especially for the women.
The majority of women I grew up with, who didn’t have a good domestic situation, who didn’t go to school and stayed in the countryside, are now grandmothers. They are not taking anything from the world, they don’t profit from it, they live day by day. That is very tragic. At the same time, I’d like to say that people like those women are the ones moving the world forward, and not idealists or philosophers. It’s the energy of these silent, small people, who are chained to their everyday chores, that influences the shape and order of the world. I see similar characters in films directed by Ken Loach or Mike Leigh, for example.

Ewa, the protagonist of the film is “silent” in a sense, which you just pointed out. How did you work on her character to present her as withdrawn, while at the same time enabling the audience to understand Ewa and connect with her?
Distributing information wasn’t simple. The important point of reference for me was a documentary, 3 women, I made with the same DoP, Małgorzata Szyłak. That film helped me to realise that real life has a different “temperature” and tempo than that imposed by a feature film. Real life is more about mood than two turning points, the change of the protagonist and climax. If I wanted to make a film that would present a more sociological perspective, I would show Ewa in the middle of her affair with the young boy, and push her into making some sort of dramatic decision. I decided to take a different approach and watch her from a distance, just as I would if it was a documentary. One of the reasons I did that was down to my need to exercise a narrative style, the other was to demonstrate that human beings are not one-dimensional, they are full of contradictions. A woman can be a bad mother and love her children at the same time; she can miss her husband and think about a young boy. I wanted to show that life is not simple, nor is it black and white.

Wild Roses is not the first film in which you tackle a difficult subject. Your previous film, Out of Love, revolved around a young married couple that decided to take part in a porn film for financial reasons.
When I choose a subject for a film I don’t think about whether or not I’m touching on a taboo. I don’t calculate that. The topic has to feel close to me, and bring me some sort of unease at the same time. I need to feel I’ll be confronted with something and will also process something while making it. Simultaneously I want to be a chronicler, I want to touch issues that are hidden from the public eye. I want to bring them into daylight and encourage people to discuss them.

What are you working on now?
A black comedy that is centered around a middle-aged woman who is in debt. She keeps it from her family and when the situation gets complicated, she plans a heist. That act will be an impulse for a positive change for her.

Is this project going to be an international co-production?
I would really like that, especially since the 1 million SEK (Swedish krona) prize I won at the festival in Stockholm is a sort of grant for the next film. But I have neither concrete plans nor partners at this point.

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