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You know why I was afraid of going abroad? Because when I went... I thought I could... be a human being over there, and not some... Polack. Only years later I realized... that's exactly... what I was. And only in Poland I can be a human being. That's what this country is for. So that we can feel human.
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The Polish film Cicha noc (2017) was shown in the U.S. with the translated title Silent Night. It was written and directed by Piotr Domalewski.
The movie takes place in a single day--Christmas Eve in a rural Polish region.
Dawid Ogrodnik portrays Adam, a young man returning from Holland to have Christmas with his family and his pregnant fiancee, Asia. During the entire film, Adam is talking to Asia on the telephone, promising to be with her soon. This in itself lends an edginess to to the movie. Ogrodnik is a good actor, and does well in his role as protagonist.
Adam's family is almost completely dysfunctional. During the day we witness alcoholism, spouse abuse, and violence. Then things get worse.
The opening and closing scenes both show us Adam riding a bus--to home and from home. The plot is what happens in between those bus rides.
The acting is excellent throughout--especially by Tomasz Zietek, who portrays Adam's younger brother Pawel; Agnieszka Suchora who plays Teresa, Adam's mother; and Arkadiusz Jakubik, Adam's father.
I have yet to see a Polish narrative film that wasn't grim. Silent Night is no exception. It's a very powerful movie, with a solid IMDb rating of 7.2. I think it's even better than that. However, I don't think there was even one frame in the film that would bring laughter. We saw the movie on the large screen at Rochester's excellent Little Theatre. It was shown as part of the outstanding Rochester Polish Film Festival. It will work well on the small screen as well.
Fair warning: This isn't a movie for a first date, and it certainly won't replace Charlie Brown's Christmas.
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