Publish Date: July 9, 2015
Author: Will Tizard
Damian’s past animated work in 2011’s investigative account “Crulic – The Path to Beyond” made the rounds of some 150 fests, portraying the Kafkaesque fate of a Romanian man caught in immigration limbo abroad with raw, naive-style images and ironic narration.
This time around, the Romanian/French/Polish co-production employs French thesps contributing voice-over talents to a more varied, richer mix of media, styles and effects, created with the help of Theodore Ushev and Tomek Ducki, many of which evolved along the way during shooting, Damian says.
“I’m digging and experimenting at every stage,” the filmmaker says. “One of my targets is not to repeat things, to try to be fresh.”
Pic’s portrayal of Polish anti-communist dissident and mountain climber Adam Jacek Winkler is based on his battles with both party officials and later with the Red Army as he fought alongside the mujahideen in Afghanistan. But, Damian, cautions, her vision of her hero’s causes and quest to find noble battles are often her own.
“He wanted to be a kind of knight who was fighting with the dragon,” the Romanian helmer says of her subject.
Winkler’s own drawings and photographs come to life throughout the film, which often incorporates absurdist humor into the handling of grim events. The protagonist’s escape from Poland to Paris, the family he lost during WWII and even death on his extreme mountain climbs take on a fairytale quality as Damian weaves together the divergent threads of Winkler’s life and writings.
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