Magazine article Variety

Filmmaker Tackles Timely Identity Issues

Magazine article Variety

Filmmaker Tackles Timely Identity Issues

Article excerpt

Dutch-Polish director Urszula Antoniak's "Beyond Words," which plays in the Contemporary World Cinema section at Toronto, explores issues of identity and migration. In the film, a young corporate lawyer in Berlin is visited by his Polish father, who abandoned him and his mother when he was a child.

The Polish-born lawyer, played by Jakub Gierszal, is successful and seems to be accepted by his German colleagues as one of them. The arrival of his father, an impoverished former punk musician, played by Andrzej Chyra, provokes an identity crisis in his son, who starts to question his status in his adopted country, and the true value of his bourgeois life.

In one scene the father asks the son for money. "It is as if he is saying: 'If you can't give me empathy, if you can't love me as I am, and if the language of your world is money, then give me the money," Antoniak says. Paying off his father doesn't resolve matters for the son. "He is shattered inside. There is some kind of emotional implosion."

The film asks whether migration should be seen as an existential act. …

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