Floating Skyscrapers: A Polish love story
by Boyd van Hoeij
- Tomasz Wasilewski's second film has won Karlovy Vary's East of the West competition
Polish directorial talent Tomasz Wasilewski, whose debut feature In the Bedroom [+see also:
film profile] premiered in Karlovy Vary last year, presented his second film, Floating Skyscrapers [+see also:
interview: Tomasz Wasilewski
film profile], in the same section this year and promptly won the East of the West competition's main prize.
The young director, born in 1980, moves from the female universe of In the Bedroom to a decidedly male world in Floating Skyscrapers. The action centers on Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk), a young swimmer who lives with his girlfriend, Sylwia (Marta Nieradkiewicz), at his mother's.
At a gallery opening that he attends only to make Sylwia happy, he meets Michal (Bartosz Gelner), a handsome gay guy that intrigues him. His attraction to Michal confuses Kuba, which leads to problems in the swimming pool as he can't concentrate, though he finally gives in to his desires without, however, stopping to see Sylwia.
Wasilewski is at his strongest when he creates situations that don't need much dialogue, such as an impressive scene in which the confused Kuba decides to ask Michal over for dinner at his house and the two have dinner with Sylwia in silence. The awkwardness of the moment is clear but the actors, all terrific and beautifully directed by Wasilewski, also advance the story by simply using looks and body language.
Similarly, a scene in which the trio decides to go camping at the seaside is thick with tension until Sylwia and Michal go head-to-head.
Occasionally, the film of what feels like the Polish Xavier Dolan is a little too much 'on the nose', especially in a scene with Kuba and Michal in car while Portishead's Glory Box plays on the soundtrack with the lyrics "Give me a reason to love you/Give me a reason to be a woman/I just wanna be a woman".