|Norman (Scott Wilson) and Emilia (Maja Komorowska)|
In 1946, Norman (Scott Wilson) is assigned to be a driver for a commission looking into the mass execution of American Airmen by Nazi’s in Poland. While taking a leak on what he thinks is just a bombed out car, he notices there is a woman in the car painting. Thus begins an unlikely relationship between him and the Polish woman named Emilia (Maja Komorowska). The main barrier between them is also their strongest bond: the language barrier. He tracks down an interpreter and they sit at a table, he on one end, her on the other, and the translator in between. The translator is a much younger man and while trying to translate, Norman and Emilia are able to understand each other even when he can’t and they laugh. He understands the languages, but can’t understand all the other forms of communication nor their feelings or situations.
As time passes, they are able to cross enough of the language barrier to communicate with words as well. However, the power of the film is in how their relationship exists beyond words. I particularly love the urgency, desperation, and desire that comes out when they dance.
Around them is a Poland in ruins, a dying mother, and the up and coming Communist party. The characters are often surrounded by an overly bright light source that drowns out everything else along with a hand-held camera that both create an ethereal quality. Without ruining it, the film ends in fantasy, but the reality of the events that unfold during the course of the film are completely grounded in actuality.
All that said, it just didn’t quite grip me enough to fully invest in the characters so I can only recommend it.