Siren Competition, Méliès d’Argent
Jagoda Szelc // Poland // 2018 // Psychological thriller, Horror // 108 min // Lodz Film School
Cast: Zuzanna Pawlak; Anna Biernacik; Paulina Lasota; Karolina Bruchnicka; Jakub Zajac; Mateusz Czwartosz
Language: Polish // English subtitles
Bussed to a faraway hotel, a group of students is set to begin their internship under the tutelage of a strict and stern manager. One by one they will find their endurance tested as the mundane decor of their apprenticeship gives way to more menacing surroundings.
Jagoda Szelc’s follow-up to Berlinale-bound Tower. A Bright Day favors uncanny atmospherics over a straightforward narrative drive. Cryptic without being hermetically sealed, this graduation film of the Lodz Film School’s acting department takes viewers on a ritualistic journey rife with symbolism. It’s an immersive experience that takes you out of your comfort zone and expertly transfers the feeling of trespassing onto something inexplicable and forbidden.
Monument will reward patience as it imperceptibly digs into your skin, burrowing deeper until, finally, all the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Marking Szelc once more as a talent to watch while also serving as a strong calling card for a host of young Polish actors, it’s a psychological freakout whose disquieting effect will be hard to shake after the screen fades to black.
Text: Tom Kiesecoms