With a title referring to Aristotle's creation of the first concept of a monotheistic God, the film tells the story of a complicated relationship between a woman and the men around her and causes uproar at its premiere
One of the most controversial Polish films of 2008, if not of the last few years, or even the last decade. The first public screening at the Dwa Brzegi film festival in Kazimierz Dolny caused an uproar. An even greater uproar was caused by the director's decision not to enter Nieruchomy poruszyciel / The Unmoved Mover in the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia, which triggered a discussion about the festival itself. Łukasz Barczyk about the intriguing title of the film,
The 'unmoved mover' is a term invented by Aristotle. Aristotle sought the origins of all motion - the change of potential, the first cause. He reached the conclusion that the cause of all motion must be one who remains absolutely still - the unmoved mover. Developing this concept, Aristotle created the first concept of a monotheistic God in our part of the world, God understood as the first cause and ultimate goal of any motion. The philosophical concept of the unmoved mover inspired me when I noticed it in our lives. All our actions are motivated by a need for happiness, a desire for love. These desires are the cause of our actions, where the goal of the action is to experience love, and through it to achieve happiness. It's a mutual attraction. An important feature of this attraction is that it occurs in areas where there's no room for ethical or moral judgment. The unmoved mover is love in pure form, beyond the reach of human cognition. There is no way anyone can renounce that force, nor resist it. It is the deepest part of human nature and determines human actions in a way similar to how a magnet acts on metal...
To prove the presence of the unmoved mover in our lives, Barczyk tells the story of a rather complicated relationship between a woman and the men around her. One of them, known as the General, is her employer and abuses her sexually. One day he humiliates the woman's husband in public and commands him to put his home in order. The man leaves town, but that doesn't satisfy the General: with a group of friends he gang-rapes his lover. The woman would meekly suffer this latest humiliation if it weren't for a new man in her life. To stop him from leaving, she tells the prosecutors what the General did to her...
Łukasz Barczyk's film, with expressive roles played by Jan Frycz as the General and Marieta Żukowska as his lover, does not follow the rules of linear narrative. On the contrary, it is a story in the style of David Lynch, maintained in a mood familiar from the theatre of the New Brutalists, built on screaming and rampant emotions. Barczyk explains the choice of this particular poetics,
Our reality is slowly changing into multilevel noise. It's the artist's task to bring order to that noise; to extract meanings from it and shape them anew. What we mustn't do is pretend the noise isn't there, we mustn't disregard it. We have to somehow reach the awareness of people shaped by that noise; people who feel ever stronger desire but their desires are increasingly unsatisfied. The noise is a river which is supposed to satisfy human desires. My film says they are impossible to satisfy.
Nieruchomy poruszyciel / The Unmoved Mover, Poland 2008. Screenplay, director, set design, editing: Łukasz Barczyk, cinematography: Maja Kleszczewska, music: Hanna Kulenty, costumes: Joanna Kaczyńska, sound: Jan Freda. Cast: Jan Frycz (General), Marieta Żukowska (Teresa), Szymon Mysłakowski (Robert), Katarzyna Gniewkowska (Elżbieta), Andrzej Chyra (Peksa), Stanisława Celińska (Teresa's mother-in-law). Production WFF Błyskawica, Vision Film, The Chimney Pot, Toya Studios, co-financed by: Polish Film Institute, distribution Vision. Length: 90 min. Released on 14 November 2008.
Author: Konrad J. Zarębski, October 2008