Calling: And nothing will be the same again…
by Dorota Hartwich
- The feature debut by Polish director Marcin Dudziak is a minimalist fable presented as a world premiere at the New Horizons Festival
Marcin Dudziak is one of those young Polish directors who, right from the start of their professional careers, try to find universal content in cinema, rather than becoming too attached to local realities and contexts. Dudziak’s feature debut – Calling (Wolanie), which has just been presented as a world premiere at the T-Mobile New Horizons IFF in Wroclaw (in official competition) – portrays a relationship between a ten-year-old boy and his father, a minimalist story that could easily unfold in any geographical location today, or equally 150 years ago.
The film’s action takes place in a wild, unspoiled forest – the father (Sebastian Pawlak) and the son (Witold Kotrys) are paddling up a river in a small boat, setting up camp in the woods when night falls. They are alone, totally immersed in nature. The director, through long, static shots filmed on 16 mm (courtesy of DoP Tomasz Woźniczka), allows the audience sufficient time for close observation in order to decipher the relationship between the two of them, which is almost entirely nonverbal. Nothing is said in a direct way; any meaning is merely hinted at – with a subtlety and finesse that eliminate the need for any added dramatic touches. The film’s pivotal moment is a change that takes place in the boy – after this experience, his world expands: neither his way of perceiving reality nor that of his father will be the same again.
The screenplay was written by the director himself, adapted from a short story by Kazimierz Orłoś. As the filmmaker explained to Cineuropa, “The structure of the literary base was refined, as a conscious decision, not to get away from the psychological truth, but rather to work on the archetypes of the characters and not on the flesh-and-blood characters themselves.” The film was produced by A Son Image Production and Oko i Ucho.
(Translated from French)