by Roderick Conway Morris

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An Impressive First Feature

By Roderick Conway Morris
VENICE 10 December 1993


Directed by Mariusz Grzegorzok. Poland.

Raised by his seriously loopy, neurotically protective widowed mother Anna (Bozena Adamek) - who never allows him out, even to go to school -- Karol (Rafal Olbrychski) is cast defenseless into the world when she remarries and abandons him. Terrified by life outside and unable to communicate even with those kindly folk who try to help him, he eventually retires into the wardrobe of his rented room, into a private, hallucinatory realm, yearning to become a child again. In his first feature film, 31-year-old Grzegorzok, with the help of consistently superb acting and artful camera work by Jolanta Dylewska, transforms this quirky early Ian McEwan short story into a compassionate and thought-provoking study of human isolation, the sensitivity and beauty of which overcomes the subject's inherent gloom.

First published: International Herald Tribune

© Roderick Conway Morris 1975-2024