Lonely foreigners in Munich
by Camillo de Marco
22/06/2010 - Desperados on the Block [trailer, film focus] is the revealing title of the debut film by 31-year-old, Polish-born Tomasz Emil Rudzik (who moved to Germany at the age of eight) in competition at the Lecce Festival of European Cinema, a bittersweet look at the thousands of lonely lives that intersect on the streets (and in the elevators) of Europe.
Rudzik chose as a representative microcosm the Block, a 19-story Munich apartment building that houses 2,500 students from throughout the world, where the director himself lived for over three years. Even more specifically, the Block’s elevator, literally inhabited by the janitor, who is also the narrator and observer of the thousand faces that pass through in trips that last just a few seconds.
“The stories were just waiting to be told,” says Rudzik. “[Tomasz] went up and down the elevator, to get to know the students and their ways of combating the loneliness that besieges you when you live in a foreign country”, says one of the film’s stars, Patricia Moga. The stories include a deaf-mute Latvian boy who asks out a young librarian; a troubled theology study who challenges God to show himself to her, by breaking the Ten Commandments one by one; and a Chinese student who falls in love with the very young and rebellious girl who tutors him in math.
Shadows of Krzysztof Kieślowski, underlying existential dilemmas and non-professional actors add to this debut feature (after five shorts) by a director who shows maturity and a great sense for mise-en-scene.