In Lasting Borcuch combines contrasts: the intimate melodrama is surrounded by video-clip like images and the orange Spanish sun is set beside the greyness of Kraków. The director’s film is a love story, a story about a lost paradise that seeks to be retrieved from memory.
They went on holiday together. Michał (Jakub Gierszał) is visiting his family in Spain, Karina (Magdalena Berus) is going grape picking to earn extra money during the summer. The 20 something youngsters are curious and open minded. Michał plays volleyball for the university team, Karina is considering staying in academia. They discover a deep passion for each other which develops into a bond of love. Yet before their feeling finds its place a tragic accident comes between them and forces them to face difficult choices.
Jacek Borcuch’s cinema 'is woven from singular memories, distinct images' Bartosz Staszczyszyn writes in an article for culture.pl, 'in Lasting, the filmmaker confirms yet again that he has an expressive style and his own conception of cinema.' His 2009 film All That I Love, stood out from other films about Poland under communism. Portraying youth, its beauty and intensity, All That I Love shows how the fate of four boys who start a punk rock group in Poland in the 1980s is influenced by the country’s political turbulences. 'The film was a dream about the return to an idealised past, a past that lives through personal memories as opposed to the general rhythm of the era' Staszczyszyn wrote.
There is affinity between All That I Love and Lasting in the approach of the topic of youth and love. Lasting takes the issue one step further and shows the transition between carelessness and responsibility. Both realities intertwine and the protagonists continue to resort to the past to escape the present.
A dented world
Borcuch’s key to talking about the memory of evanescent moments is Michał Englert fleeting cinematography. The movements, colours and contrasts of Englert’s pictures and their sequence tells Borcuch’s story without words. The images of Spain are bathed in sunshine. Englert resorts to using burnt-out film tape to underline the intensity of the inception of emotions – infatuation, sexual tension, closeness. The camera looks at their relation from up close. It shows their faces, captures their gestures. The overexposed images reveal the secret – the pictures are a mere reconstruction of the memory, exaggerated and subject to selection over time. 'The only paradise is a lost paradise' Borcuch seems repeating after Proust.
The real world is elsewhere. Upon their return to Kraków, the monochrome reality is drenched with greyness and a rotten shade of green. The blooming Spanish countryside is replaced by a landscape of a slowly dying world. The viewer is thrown in the middle of the protagonists battle with their feelings. The camera becomes their eyes and exposes their pursuit of lost time. When Karina hastily leaves a Kraków coffee house, the camera runs after her. Michał Englert is the Winner of the Cinematography Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Feelings from memory
Lasting is an ambiguous love story. Love is a mere memory and the key to escaping the world and one’s own demons. The protagonist’s love fades before it is fully ripe. Michał and Kalina come to an unfinished empty Kraków skyscraper from the 1970s – the so-called Skeleton (Szkieletor). Never completed and eroded by the passing years, the building symbolises the feeling between the boy and the girl. In Lasting love is Michał and Kalina’s jump from a bridge, the memory of a close-up of one of their eye’s, an innocent conversation carrying no particular relevance, but it remains unfinished.
'Talking about feelings', Staszczyszyn writes, 'Borcuch balances between a sentimental melodrama and a social drama. He doesn’t fall into either category even for a second. He stays on top of the cinematic form the entire time and reaches for video-clip aesthetics at the right moments (the scene of the student party unrolling to the Cocteau Twins) and finds inner rhymes.'
A Spanish co-production, the film features Spanish actors Angela Molina and Juanjo Ballesta and stars Jakub Gierszał, awarded the Poland 2012 Shooting Star, and Magdalena Berus, known for her role as a teenage mother in Katarzyna Rosłaniec's Baby Blues, which was featured at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival. Gierszał, known for his skill in balancing hysteria and emotional truth and referred to as the Polish James Dean, was awarded for portraying Dominik in Jan Komasa's Suicide Room. With Lasting, he stars in a Jacek Borcuch film for the second time, having played in Wszystko, co kocham / All That I Love in 2009 as Kazik, one of the boys in the punk rock band. Lasting's script is a collaboration between Borcuch, Claudia Llosa, the Peruvian artist-author of The Milk of Sorrow (the Golden Bear recipient in Berlin in 2009), and director Jasmila Žbanića from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Lasting / Nieulotne, Poland, Spain 2012. Directing and script: Jacek Borcuch, cinematography: Michał Englert, music: Daniel Bloom, set design: Elwira Pluta, costumes: Katarzyna Lewińska, editing: Beata Walentowska, sound: Maria Chilarecka. Cast: Jakub Gierszał (Michał), Magdalena Berus (Karina), Andrzej Chyra (Karina’s father), Joanna Kulig (Marta), Angela Molina (Elena), Juanjo Ballesta (Joaquin). Production: Manana, Coproduction: Espiral Producciones, Krakow Festival Office. Distribution: Kino Świat. Duration: 93 min. In cinemas in Poland as the 8th of February 2013.
Sources: based on the article by Bartosz Staszczyszyn for culture.pl
Editor: marta jazowska