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Directed by Andrzej Jakimowski
Produced in 2007
Main Language - Polish with English subtitles
Damian Ul, Ewelina Walendziak, Tomasz Sapryk
Michael Bartlett thoroughly enjoys this understated and charming Polish gem about a 6 year-old boy trying to get his estranged father back.
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.
Charming, bittersweet Polish family drama in which Stefek is a 6 year-old boy being raised by his single mother in a small mining town near Wroclaw. Closest to his older sister Elka, Stefek spends most of his time following her around town, together believing that 'tricks' and 'games' can influence courses of events which shape their lives. However, as Stefek embarks on a game of chance in which he hopes to get closer to his wayward father, he suddenly realises that bargaining with destiny can be dangerous.
Publisher: New Wave Films
Length: 95 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 22nd February 2010
Cat No: NW010