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Hi Tereska Film Review.docx

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Richard Sokoloski

Hi Tereska Film Review Polish War Cinema PLN 2102 By: SuadAli Robert Glinski is the filmmaker behind the disturbing and deeply moving film Hi Tereska. This film tells the story of a generation who grew up in the gray soulless block of flats that mushroomed throughout the Eastern Bloc of Poland during the 1970’s. This film is a tragic coming of age story. Though she has fond memories of her childhood, Tereska's currently lives like most Polish families in a big residential neighborhood with characteristically high buildings thus making her living condition less than ideal. Her father is an unemployed alcoholic and he eventually loses his job where as her religiously fanatical mother is factory worker that is constantly tired and watches TV most of the time. The director shows us a hint of Tereska’s active and creative mind by the scribbling’s she makes in her notebook. Having dreams of becoming a fashion designer the shy and introverted Tereska enrolls in a trade school dedicated to tailoring. She seems to have some talent in fashion and designing but she becomes disillusioned with the strict functional approach to design thus oppressing her inventiveness. Tereska finds pleasure in the company of a slightly older girl Renata. Tereska changes from being the innocent shy girl to becoming more like Renata by smoking cigarettes, stealing money, drink wine; kiss boys and not focusing on school. With its stunning black and white cinematography, the bleakness of Tereska's world is aptly depicted. Tereska at times feels like there is no way to escape because everywhere that she looks there is nowhere for her to go. This bright 15-year old is slowly tarnished and worn away by an environment that strips away her humanity because it offers her nothing else. She finds some kind of friendly warmth in her bizarre friendship with Edek, a handicapped factory doorman. In his company she feels open and capable of being herself even sometimes smiles. Edek is very lonely and sees her as a woman and doesn’t respect her intimacy or sensibility. In exchange for kisses, he allows her to put cigarettes out on his insensitive legs. The relationship becomes increasingly destructive until the horrific final scene. The physical violence and emotional destruction present in her working class neighborhood emphasizes the grimy day-to-day existence that confronts the young protagonist Tereska with reality. I have a strong feeling that the film is characteristic for post-communist Poland. There were big hopes for change to occur but for awful lot of people the collapse of the communist regime hasn't meant a change for the better. Poverty may be the only friend at home. The film shows that the gap between dreams and reality is bigger than people can take. In this sense, the film can be considered illustrative. When Tereska visits a church contemplating her life she notices the rehearsals for the kids' first Holy Communion and it’s like a flashback from her own life. Tereska cannot face the choir leader who spots her but runs away from church unable to accept what has happened, how the neighborhood and the people have made her chance. Atalented and pretty little Tereska learns how to live. She does not know how to dream, she was never told that her life belonged to her.All she knows is that she must be nice, praise God by singing in a church choir, don't talk too much, don't fight for her rights, and keep most of her thoughts secret. Nobody cares what she feels and thinks anyway. She is desperately looking for love. But where can she find it if her parents, her teachers, her friends do not know it either? Her goodness and naivety, of which first her boyfriend takes advantage by raping Tereska, and then twice Renata by stealing from her, turns into self aggression and leads her to commit a crime First time actor Aleksandra Gietner, cast at a reform school, delivers a genuine and powerful performance that is at times painful to watch. Her style of acting is largely understated-emotions are not cheaply posed on the features, yet often swim just below the surface, contained by Tereska's hardened exterior, to escape only occasionally in an unadorned tear. The guardedness of Tereska's emotions does more to reveal her secret hopes and fears then out-right expression ever could. This unprofessional actor was found in an institution for juvenile delinquents and she disappeared after the film was completed and resorted to her old criminal habits. This modest, non-color film by Robert Glinski is one of the most important achievements of Polish cinema after the year 1989. Not just because it won many prestigious awards in the country as well as abroad. (That incl
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