Wahadelko (1981)

Run Time - 57 min.  |   Countries - Poland  |  
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This is a surreal treatment of the repression of the Stalin years in Poland in the early 1950s (and its later manifestations and rebellions) set in one room inhabited by a young intellectual. The director Filip Bajon has his main character wake up from a disturbing dream about himself as a little boy, staying in a clinic to be treated for his asthma when "Father Frost" comes along to give him a gift- and then takes off his disguise to show that he is really Joseph Stalin. Shocked, the intellectual wakes up, looks around him for reassurance, and realizes finally that he is in his own room and it is the present. He spends all his time in the room with his own views of Communism while his sister tries to rouse him into the more activist stance of social protest going on around them, and his mother just abdicates any role except tending her garden in '50s garb. As characters come in and out of the room, each carries a symbolic weight that is clear to most Poles, and maybe not as crystalline to the uninitiated viewer. When someone asks after the mother, both the brother and sister chime in with "She's dead." But not quite, the mother at that point, walks into the room - the 1950s apparently cannot be killed off with words alone.

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Keywords

asthma, dream, intellectual, oppression, rebel, repression