Big city, boy meets girl, they spend some hours together, and when it's time to part they are both better, more mature people. It's an extremely popular formula, but a very capacious one.
The plot of this debut feature by Grzegorz Pacek, a valued maker of documentaries (Golden Lajkonik Grand Prix at the Kraków Film Festival in 2001), is as simple as can be: Big city, boy meets girl, they spend some hours together, and when it's time to part they are both better, more mature people. It's an extremely popular formula, but a very capacious one. Deciding to make a work of just under 70 minutes, Pacek found space in it for a great many issues. His film is about the young, the old, the attitude of both generations towards history, it shows different faces of today's Warsaw, touches on ethical issues, teaches respect for love, life and death, and gives seemingly everyday things their deserved importance. That's a lot, really a lot. But respected cinematographer Bogumił Godfrejów's evocative photography, filmed from the hand, the characters' spontaneous behaviour, and the city always in the background, all creates a feeling of authenticity. If the city is real - and it is!, if the people walking along its streets are real - and they are!, then why can't the problem appearing on screen be natural?
Tomek is spending his last few days in Warsaw, he's about to leave for the United States to join his girlfriend. He returns the key to his flat, says goodbye to his friends. Too early - he won't be going, there's no one waiting; his girlfriend has a new life now. He breaks down, and starts tempting fate. Injured in a car accident, he ends up in hospital where he meets a girl, the provocative Teresa. They leave the hospital together and take a walk around the city as it prepares for the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. Evening falls, the young couple are invited to a restaurant where former insurgents reminisce about August 1944. Among the memories and anecdotes, a drastic question is suddenly raised: Would you kill someone if they asked you to? Then, in the heat of battle, among the ruins, on the barricades and in the sewers, this was a natural question, but the city today, vibrant with life 24 hours a day, doesn't provide the right mood for such answers. The question will return anyway, on that same day, just a few hours later. Tomek will be asked this question by Teresa, the terminally ill girl who deserted from hospital for a few hours. What will his answer be? What would be the answer of anyone in the audience?
Grzegorz Pacek claims he's telling a true story; apparently he met a girl like Teresa, in exactly the same situation. This explanation won't convince everyone; he needed to choose his actors very carefully so that their behaviour on set would be natural enough to make sure the relations between the two protagonists remained probable. It needs saying that the cast is extremely well chosen - Paweł Tomaszewski and Joanna Kulig are two young actors, same-year graduates of Kraków's drama school. They play themselves - contemporary young adults picked from the crowd, taking advantage of the freedom to which their age entitles them, but also put to a test requiring truly extraordinary maturity. It was just the same for their peers from more than 60 years ago, when they joined the Uprising in a city the enemy had condemned to annihilation. Joanna Kulig deserves special attention - unusually photogenic, but apparently prepared to take on any acting challenge. Her performance was noticed by the jury at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia in 2007, and also the jury of the "Youth and Film" Koszalin Film Debut Festival in 2008. In Koszalin, Paweł Tomaszewski's acting debut won a prize as well, while Wednesday, Thursday Morning won the Great Amber main prize.
- Środa, czwartek rano... / Wednesday, Thursday Morning, Poland 2007. Screenplay and director: Grzegorz Pacek, cinematography: Bogumił Godfrejów, music: Paweł Szymański, set design: Anna Baumgart, editing: Rafał Listopad, sound: Joanna Napieralska, Michał Żarnecki. Cast: Joanna Kulig (Teresa), Paweł Tomaszewski (Tomek), Rafał Maćkowiak (security guard), Eryk Lubos ("Rumun"), Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieślak (doctor). Production: WF Czołówka, Documentary and Feature Film Studio (WFDiF), Tor Film Studio. Co-financed by: Polish Film Institute. Length: 71 min. Distribution: Fundacja Film Polski. Released on 8 February 2008.
Author: Konrad J. Zarębski, October 2008
- 2007 - Award of the Mayor of Gdynia for best acting debut for Joanna Kulig at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia;
- 2008 - Great Amber Grand Prix for Grzegorz Pacek, award for best acting debut of an actress in a leading role for Joanna Kulig, and award for best acting debut of an actor in a leading role for Paweł Tomaszewski at the "Youth and Film" Koszalin Film Debut Festival in Koszalin.