Wednesday 24 October 2012

Personel [1975]

Polish legend Krzysztof Kieslowski, who had made only shorts and documentaries until then, made his transition to feature-length fiction with Personel (made for Polish television). Watching the film made it obvious that he was still finding his feet in his craft (though, of course, at a very fast pace given that his very next film was the astutely directed The Scar); nonetheless, his signature touches were present all over it – especially the strong political undercurrents that defined the first half of his filmmaking career. The central character is Romek (Juliusz Machulski), a shy young guy who has found employment as a tailor in a theatre group after the theatre school he was studying in shut down. Among the many acquaintances he makes in the closely-knit group, the one he becomes most friendly to is Sowa (Michal Tarkowski), who was his senior in the defunct school and is highly passionate about the theatres. Meanwhile he starts falling for a young lady who travels in the same train as he does. Things look idyllic, but they take a complicated turn when the outspoken Sowa has an altercation with a pompous actor, which doesn’t go well with the workers’ union as well – thus forcing Romek to evaluate his priorities in life. Though timed at slightly over 1 hour, Kieslowski spent time in imbuing the characters and the proceedings with subtle details and observations, and his personal love for and experiences with the theatres. The picture quality and production designs were shoddy (more so in comparison to his later works) on account of the low-budget, but can be ignored on account of the larger picture.

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Psychological Drama/Coming-of-Age
Language: Polish
Country: Poland

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