This is the rarer Polish film in that it is more light-hearted than the usual depressing Polish films. Director Jacek Borcuch sets his film in the beautiful Tuscany, Italy.
One wishes director Borcuch would not have tackled so many issues as he did in this movie resulting in no clear direction on where he wishes to go with his material. Or perhaps he wishes to keep an open mind and let the audience decide for themselves.
The film centres on semi-retired Nobel literature winner Maria Linde who is living out her golden years in casual luxury. The celebrated Jewish-Polish poet (Krystyna Janda) enjoys a life filled with late-night dinners, wine-infused conversation with friends, and quality time spent with her adult daughter and grandchildren. The free-spirited matriarch’s privileged existence mostly keeps her at a remove from the escalating xenophobia engulfing Italy. But a secret dalliance with a handsome (and much younger) Egyptian immigrant sets off a chain of events that will eventually lead to Maria’s life coming apart at the seams.
Director Borcuch makes one controversial statement in his script In Maria’s acceptance speech. Maria says: “I don’t have to give an acceptance speech and that is why I will.” This spells trouble. In her disturbing speech she talks about the power of terrorists in using death. Maria talks about the suicide bomber and asked what can be done by the celebrated artist. Then comes the whopper statement is what has been done is the setting up of refugee camps by the Government set up by the Mafia. And she describes the incident where people have died as a work of art. She denounces her Nobel Prize in protest for the unsympathetic Europe she is living in.
The character of Maria is that of a famous spoilt bitch. She has a younger lover, cares not for the law (she deliberately fails to stop at roadside checkpoint) and is rude to the Police Commissioner who was so good to drop everything bare to search fr her missing grandson. She thinks she is doing the world a whole lot of good while from what transpires is the compete opposite. One wonders the reason director Borcuch made her character so as it destroys all the messages the film tries to put forward. But what happens to her at the end (details not revealed here in the review) is what she deserves
Borcuch provides no answers to Europe’s current crisis of morality and identity. One can hardly praise actress Jandaone for her performance in a conflicting role, who infuses her protagonist with both the wilful selfishness of a child and the complicated desires of a woman finding her way in life’s later stages.
The use of the Frank Sinatra song lifts up spirits and puts the film into perspective.
Maria claims to be just a poet who is amoral. She also says that she is made famous by a small group of intellectuals. This does not explain the reason for her to make a moral speech.
DOLCE FINE GIORMATA makes its debut at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for a limited engagement.