Great, but not for being a biopic…
Director: Joanna Kos-Krauze, Krzysztof Krauze
Featuring: Jowita Budnik, Zbigniew Walerys, Antoni Pawlicki
Production Company: Argomedia Productions
Duration: 131 mins
In Romany, Polish with English Subtitles
Reviewed By Alessandro Hutt
The life of gypsy poetess Papusza was certainly a depressing one. After being forced to marry her much older uncle, she was also forced to abandon her craft. Though this film was sold as a dramatic biopic about Papusza, it functions more as an examination of gypsy culture and traditions. Her poetry is never the focus – we would have to look into that ourselves. It doesn’t go that in depth into her personal wants and desires either. Rather it shows how her actions and words affected those around her, and that makes for a fascinating watch.
Yet at the end of the day, it would be so much better if we did get that extra look into Papusza’s character. Perhaps that was not quite possible due to lack of records or reference material, but the film still feels like it’s missing something.
Another turn off might be the time hopping from scene to scene. We could be in 1947 one moment, then 1971 the next. It wasn’t a particular issue for me, but it might aggravate some viewers. On a positive note, the technical choice to show the film in black and white was a wise one. It highlights how Papusza’s works were highly affected by World War II and the plight of the Gypsies. The Gypsies have never really been fully integrated to this day – and perhaps they do not wish to be. I would give this a watch if you are interested in learning about Gypsy culture. If you want to know more about Papusza herself – you will have to look elsewhere.