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COTTBUS 2017 Competition

Wild Roses: The intangible


- While firmly rooting her story within a context, Anna Jadowska attempts to perceive the imperceptible, painting a picture of the human soul

Wild Roses: The intangible
Marta Nieradkiewicz in Wild Roses

The fifth feature film by Polish director Anna Jadowska, Wild Roses [+see also:
interview: Anna Jadowska
film profile
, in competition at the 27th Cottbus Festival, is reminiscent of In the Name Of [+see also:
film review
interview: Malgorzata Szumowska
interview: Mateusz Kosciukiewicz
film profile
by her colleague Malgorzata Szumowska, due to its bucolic and sunny scenery, but also its provincial context, at the heart of a committed and small Catholic community. The plot revolves around a moral conflict, which this time is not experienced by a priest tormented by his desires, but a mother and wife who doesn’t feel up to the importance of her roles, and who no longer even has the strength to try, faced with a community of shame, this time somewhat more externalised (instead of entirely internalised as it was in In the Name Of), and experience meant as a disruptive force rather than a guardrail.

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Without wanting to give too much away about the plot, the film begins in a hospital. The theme of motherhood is central to the main character, Ewa (who tenderly raises a little girl and a baby). She sleeps in a house that is under construction, a teenager boy follows her, sometimes shouting her name through the window. One day a search is launched following a disappearance...

We can't reveal any more than that, as the essence of the film lies in what comes next. But the way the narrative is constructed, carrying the film by igniting the audience’s curiosity until the very last minute, reflects on the lethargy and dismay of its heroine, placing us - quite nicely, without insisting too much on the other possible subjective approach - in a situation of partial comprehension and thus frustration for the young girl, a secondary character who is very skilfully brought to life, complex while remaining surprisingly plausible, entirely her age, as if she were born from the intimate recollection of past experiences.

It is precisely to this narrative exercise in sensitivity, based on the emotion of the situation, that Jadowska surrenders herself. Throughout the film she observes, hardly leaving Eva’s willowy and wet face, which, thanks to Marta Nieradkiewicz's vulnerable, bare and formidable performance, expresseseverything without the need for dialogue, amongst the chaos, she reveals a whole range of subtle feelings, from love to pain, helplessness and shame. The imagery and soundtrack, as well as the atmosphere that they create, elegantly accompany this modest psychological portrait. The dry and light sounds, the small crunches of a radiant summer and the delightful rustling of the wild rose fields help to create a climate of summer idleness, which is conducive to a slow progression towards muted epiphanies, but which also invokes a sensation that buzzes and blurs, representing Eva as she roams, so powerfully so that the central themes take centre stage behind the veil of the disempowerment that surrounds them.

The latter is indeed, in the form of an omniscient ghost, the central character to a story that does not judge or close itself off. What Jadowska does in Wild Roses is describe a void, a solitude, but in an incredibly human and sensory manner, that emanates warmth. 

Wild Roses was produced by Alter Ego Pictures in co-production with Canal+. The international sales of the film are managed by the Moscow company Ant!pode Sales & Distribution.

(Translated from French)

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