Magazine article Screen International

'Waves': Karlovy Vary Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Waves': Karlovy Vary Review

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Grzegorz Zariczny. Poland 2016. 78 mins

A young woman's quest to make a better life for herself is acutely observed and felt in Waves. Writer/director Grzegorz Zariczny emerged as a talent to watch from his short films and documentaries, including The Whistle (2012), which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Waves delivers on that promise, creating a nuanced, sure-footed portrait of an individual who feels typical of an entire lost generation of Europeans struggling to overcome global economic forces and personal circumstances.

Social realism leavened with hope and humour, Waves carries echoes of the Czech New Wave and should travel extensively across the Festival circuit following its world premiere at Karlovy Vary.

Drawn from the personal experiences of the two leads (both non-professionals) and based around extensive improvisation, Waves has the potential to feel baggy or garrulous. Instead, Zariczny's film is focused and finely judged, capturing the sense of a life in a compact running time.

Ania (Anna Kesek) and Kasia (Katarzyna Kopec) are teenagers in Nowa Huta, a suburb of Krakow nestling beneath the pall of belching factory chimneys. Both of the girls are studying to become hairdressers. Kasia is a natural; a hard-working, fun-loving A-student full of promise. Ania struggles to master the basics and the tricky art of creating waves. A bond blossoms into a nurturing friendship and a tacit understanding that they find themselves in a similar situation; venturing into an unknown adult future reliant on their own resources to pull them through.

Kesek and Kopec create a very convincing portrait of a teenage friendship. There is a spontaneity and affection in their relationship that makes us immediately warm to both of their characters. Zariczny also displays a confident sense of pacing, allowing us to engage with the girls whilst starting to hint at some of the domestic problems they may have faced. …

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