If the title of the new film by Magdalena Piekorz was to really show the relationship between the main characters , it should be The Bonding ( though then it might be associated with the first Almodovar films and it is not quite the right trace). To say that the mother (Wiśniewska) and the daughter (Orleańska) are close is the same kind of understatement as to compare the grandness of Manhattan to the coast in Gdynia, where the world premiere took place.“Close-ups” is a low-key psychological drama set in Katowice. This is the city with which both the director and the script co-writer, Wojciech Kuczok, are connected in their private lives.
For over twenty years the city has not been used by film makers, (the last one to do so was Kazimierz Kutz) and only those who know it well will recognize it. This fact will be a kind of disappointment for local patriots and football club fans but the lack of here and now makes the story more universal. Similarly, owing to almost intimate film shots by Koszałka, one can get the impression that the characters are not on the screen but they are being observed from behind the curtain or through the key hole.
The relationship between these two women is by no means healthy- unlike in the cult Welts where the relationship was marked by physical violence, in Close-ups it is literal addiction.
The mother, a hysterical chain smoker, is much more believable than, let’s say, Electra by Anna Dymna in Oresteja directed by Jan Klata. She is a strong woman, much stronger than her daughter- very authoritarian, though in a rather passive way and much less dependent on her unconditionally committed daughter. The best word to describe Marta, a sculptor, would be a mimosa- very sensitive, gentle, almost fragile. In the background (unfortunately only in the background) there is Marta’s husband played by Łukasz Simlat. He decides to break the sick bond between his wife and his mother-in-law. An observant viewer will soon realize that his attempts are futile and the climax is, however brutal it may sound, the only sensible way out. This predictability is the only flaw of this quiet yet classy film. It is a real shame that the film jury in Gdynia did not appreciate it in any way.
translated by Agnieszka Galicka