Review: Extras

first_imgBy Monique Davis***In a word, Polish film Extras is decent. However, I have just been told by my editor that I am expected to write more than one word. Director Micha? Kwiecinski presents a beautifully shot film in which a group of Chinese filmmakers shoot a tragic film in Poland, under the impression that the Poles are the most miserable people. The title of the Chinese film, Sad Wind in the Reeds, is evocative, but the focus of Extras is the eponymous ‘background artists’ (ah, political correctness). The film is basically a tale of love rediscovered as the father of the Polish-Chinese translator’s child returns unexpectedly, hoping to find things as he left them when he abandoned her to go and see the world. However things, of course, are not that simple as Bozena (Kinga Preis) has married a rich dentist whom she does not love. The film-within-a-film really just serves as a trite plot device, mirroring the action of the frame story and allowing liberal usage of dramatic irony as the extras frequently comment on the main story to the chagrin of Bozena, who tries to stick to the party line of wifely duty despite her love for Romek (Bartosz Opania) the charming rapscallion. Other subplots involve a coming-together of two loveable losers and some older characters coming to terms with being cuckolded. While the film does fulfil its brief of dispelling the myth that the Polish are all miserable, the casual racism has the propensity to make the viewer feel very uncomfortable. Aside from being referred to as ‘Chinkies’, at one point Gralewski (Krzysztof Kiersznowski) pulls up the corners of his eyes and refers to them as ‘yellow’ with ‘slits’, things I have not seen or heard since the playground was my haunt of choice. Later, when the object of his affection, Narozna (Anna Romantowska), comments on his wife running of with a chorister, bites back with ‘at least he was white’, in reference to her dead husbands ‘jungle fever’. These unnecessary throwaway comments really detracted from what was otherwise a charming film.To sum up, Extras is a fantastically atmospheric film. Every shot is delicately composed and the music really adds to the slight sense of unreality. In spite of the overuse of some dramatic conventions, the slightly annoying stock characters, and the Americanised subtitles, the film really has an undeniable charm. However, it is the jarring racism that hits the film hardest in the star rating.last_img read more

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