The Welts | Chicago Reader

The Welts

A Polish Catholic schoolboy (Waclaw Adamczyk) endures the stony anger and physical abuse of his widowed father (Jan Frycz) but ultimately runs away from home; years later he's still trying to work through his trauma and keep a lid on his own explosive rage. This 2004 debut feature by Magdalena Piekorz is seriously upsetting in its first half, as the father's emotional tyranny combines with the ridicule of teachers and classmates to make the kid's existence a living hell. The story grows more turgid in the second half, however, as Piekorz hammers home the psychological effects of the childhood abuse and the grown son (Michal Zebrowski) is patiently seduced by a pretty young woman (Agnieszka Grochowska). Anyone with a lick of sense would stay away from this guy—but she's supposed to be a Madonna figure, so she doesn't have much choice. In Polish with subtitles. 91 min.

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