Directed by: Andrzej Jakimowski
Countries & Regions: Poland
Length: 95 mins
Released: 22 February 2010
Cat No: NW010
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Feelgood Polish family drama. Stefek (Damian Ul) is a six-year-old boy who is being raised by his single mother in a small mining town... Read More
Andrzej Jakimowski starts his second film with a dedication: “To my sister who made me sit on top of the wardrobe”. And there's clearly an autobiographical element to this charming tale of a young boy, Stefek, growing up in a sleepy provincial town. His sister, Elka, is both substitute mum and teacher of life's mysteries, the “tricks” of the title being her way of stimulating good fortune; in a typically marvellous vignette, her careful placement of some leftover lunch leads to a meal for a hungry dog and an even hungrier tramp. When the siblings' estranged father turns up one day at the train station, Stefek decides to use these tricks to draw him back to the family..
Ewelina Walendziak (a Polish Scarlett Johansson) is particularly memorable as Elka, while ten-year-old Damian Ul gives one of the best child performances in recent memory. Adam Bajerski's cinematography captures the summer light beautifully, and this is a rare modern film where every character is likeable and treated with sympathy. An understated gem.