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Martin I. Petrov

Cine-voyeur. Festival traveller currently based in Glasgow, UK. 

Festival director at WoFF: World of Film International Festival Glasgow. 

Festival Coordinator at MIAFF: Montreal International Animation Film Festival 

Writing reviews, articles and a passionate interview lover. 


Berlinale 2015: Body (review)


Body, dir. Malgorzata Szumowska, Poland, Berlinale 2015 - Competition 


In a visionary, humorous wander though the life of (not that much) ordinary people in the polish capital Warsaw, Malgorzata Szumowska’s Body aims to go far under the skin and explore incentives, find answers and criticise bits of our parallel realities. 


A father living with his anorexic daughter Olga, after the death of his wife, is trapped between the cruelty he has to face every day as an investigator in the police department and the nightmare waiting for him at home. A daughter who hates him and blames him for the death of her mother has turned into a ghost, becoming also a veteran at the local medical clinic after multiple entries to treat her anorexia. The key character that Szumowska introduces is a therapist, working for the clinic while leading a monotonous, routine and lonely life. Like coming from a different age, and with unspecified past, apart from a child she lost, Anna is a slave of her own misery, enjoying the company of her dog - the only connection to has to another living soul, which dependence on her seems to have filled up her emotional ego. 



A caricature in the medical clinic, Anna leads classes to enhance the anorexic girls’ spirituality and physical condition, while at the same time forcing them to externalise their deepest fears and suppressed desires. Building up an interest for Olga’s case, Anna starts claiming that with her power to speak with the dead, she will help her reconnect with her mother. 


Janusz Gajos as a paternal figure who’s developed a strong apathy for everything surrounding him, interprets solidly the character’s despair and hopelessness, although the sarcasm is not absent and it contributes a lot towards the flow of the story. With cheerful comments, humorous situations and black humour, that are sporadically appearing throughout the film, Szumowska breaks the cloudy atmosphere, making reality more digestible and easy to assimilate. 


A Teddy award winner with her previous film In the name of…, the Polish director moves a bit further from the dramatic climate, involving a funny side to her social satire. Exposing issues of the modern world like anorexia and criminal cruelty, she mixes those with well known motifs of loss and grief, lack of emotional stability and purposeless imagination. 

A linear storyline contributes towards the simplistic and natural narrative, wisely chosen to profoundly underline the ordinary lives of less ordinary people. Although feeling slightly out of place and time at certain points, overall the film achieves connecting a fresh, original story with great acting and unmistakable depiction of reality with a surreal funny touch.

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