Summer Love was received by most of the audience as a "film" - whereas it should have been taken for an artistic project. After all, Uklański is an artist whose function in the world of art differs from that of a film director.
The project itself brims with ingenuity. Says Uklański,
"This film has taken five to six years' work, of which two were spent writing the screenplay. I did not intend to make a parody of a western, just wanted to use its poetics to tell a love story. I am convinced that there is more of the Japanese than of the American filmmaking tradition in 'Summer Love'."
The plot is set in a small town in the Wild West, in which the Stranger with the body of the Wanted arrives. The Wanted was a criminal for the catching of whom a reward was promised. The small population of the town is ruled by the Sheriff who has been in love with Woman for many years. The film shows how the town-dwellers fight with the Stranger as well as with their own weaknesses. There is love and passion and, in the vein of the silent cinema, Summer Love uses fast-changing, meticulously created images instead of dialogues.
Thorough and visually precise, Summer Love has been made by an excellent team of filmmaking professionals (including Jacek Petrycki as the cinematographer) and international and Polish stars. Film icons such as Katarzyna Figura, Bogusław Linda and Val Kilmer (playing the corpse) lend it a double meaning. "Uklański plays freely with the western convention, though his production does not try to be 'Burning Saddles' ", wrote "The Hollywood Reporter". The director's sense of humour manifests itself in Kilmer, the Hollywood star making a guest appearance, being dead throughout the film.
"This filmed performance has all features of the world of westerns, the director occasionally introducing the carnival theme, such as when he has his shotgun characters wallow in coloured powder at the end", wrote Tadeusz Sobolewski in "Gazeta Wyborcza".
Summer Love was presented at Out of Competition - Midnight of the 63rd International Film Festival in Venice.
- Summer Love. Written and directed by Piotr Uklański, photography: Jacek Petrycki, art director: Ewa Skoczkowska, music: India Czajkowska, Karel Holas, costume designer: Ewa Helman, editing: Cezary Grzesiuk, Michael Hormon, produced by Michał Szczerbic, Hamish Skeggs. Starring: Val Kilmer (Wanted), Bogusław Linda (Sheriff), Katarzyna Figura (Sheriff's Woman), Jerzy Rogalski (Shopkeeper), Bartosz Żukowski (Blond Man), Mirosław Zbrojewicz (Boxer), Rafał Mohr (Shopkeeper's Assistant), Karel Roden (Guard), Krzysztof Zaleski (Big Guy), Grzegorz Emanuel ("Rat's Face"), Jan Urbański (Stableman), Marek Barbasiewicz (Town Mayor), Jerzy Cnota (Town Dweller), Andrzej Szenajch (Town Dweller), Lech Dyblik (Cross-Eyed), Andrzej Róg (Mexican), Romuald Andrzej Kłos (Stationmaster), Anna Baniowska (Young Woman), Sławomir Doniecki (Wanted), Luke Carpenter (Boy). Production: Polski Western Ltd, MS Films. Duration: 107 min. Worldwide premiere took place on 5th September 2006.
Film's website: www.summerlovefilm.com.
Author: Joanna Pawluśkiewicz, December 2006