POLAND / 2016 / Polish / Color / DCP / 72 min
Director: Anna Zamecka
Script: Małgorzata Szyłak
Editing: Agnieszka Glińska, Anna Zamecka, Wojciech Janas
Sound: Anna Rok, Katarzyna Szczerba
Sound Design: (Dreamsound) Kacper Habisiak, Marcin Kasiński, Marcin Lenarczyk
Producers: Anna Wydra, Anna Zamecka, Zuzanna Król
World Sales: CAT&Docs www.catndocs.com
A small family in Serock, Poland. Fourteen-year-old Ola bears the responsibility of taking care of her alcoholic father and her autistic brother Nikodem, while her mother lives apart from the family. Nikodem’s First Communion ceremony approaches, and she is devoted to the agonizing desire that everyone can be reunited if all goes as she hopes. What we end up seeing are a brother still sheltered behind his sister instead of gaining his independence, and weak adults unable to act like parents and support their family. The camera accompanies Ola’s punishing and inescapable daily life, aiming to be a light of hope, and to bring the pleas of her heart to the ears of the world.
[Director’s Statement] After just several meetings with Ola, Nikodem and their father, I knew I wanted to make a film: about the power of unconditional family love, about bonds securing it forever.
Inside a cramped apartment—where everything gets lost, deteriorates or falls apart—I saw three people connected so strongly that a mere gesture of one of them led to an avalanche of reactions: anger, fear, concealed emotions.
Communion is not a film about the preparations for a First Communion ceremony in a Polish family (though this is the narrative). It is an existential tale about the impossible communion—seen as a bond, a loving family united.
I was just like any child when it came to fairy tales—I loved them. Hansel and Gretel was one of my favorites. Communion is a realistic, non black-and-white version of the tale about Hansel and Gretel looking for their path in the forest of the world, where parents cannot perform their roles.
How much can a child bear? Just as much as hope lets them: hope that mother will return, hope that family can be brought together again; and most of all, hope that someone will finally absolve them from responsibility.
Polish film director, screenwriter and producer. She studied journalism, anthropology and photography in Warsaw and Copenhagen, and completed the Dok Pro Documentary Programme at Wajda School. Her full-length debut, Communion (2016), has won a number of awards at international film festivals, including Critic’s Week Award at the 69th Locarno Film Festival, as well as the Polish Film Award Eagle 2017 for Best Documentary. It was shortlisted for best documentary at EFA in August, 2017.