The Family Events

In this whimsical 1997 elegy by Leszek Wosiewicz, a young boy narrates a series of vignettes that subtly illustrate the changing life of a small Polish town in the late 40s and early 50s. His tales combine fact and fancy, yet with each narrative his perception of the world widens, retaining its innocence but gradually losing its naivete. Like the voice-over narration in Terrence Malick?s Badlands and Days of Heaven, the boy?s blithe, matter-of-fact observations hint at important incidents: we learn almost in passing about the Nazi occupation, the mutual infidelity of the boy?s parents, and the communists? appropriation of the family mill. All the stories contain elements of parable—the tale of a charming atheist trying to seduce the most virginal girl in town can be read as the irreligious Soviets despoiling Catholic Poland—but the implications are handled so lightly that one only considers them later. Grazyna Szapolowska (Kieslowski?s The Decalogue) gives a fine, understated performance as the boy?s mother.

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