Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sztuckzi - Tricks are not just for Kids

In Stuckzi ("tricks" in Polish), young Stefek (Damian Ul) dreams of reconnecting with his absentee father. His cute older sister Elka (Ewelina Walendziak) misses Dad too, but she's mad enough and proud enough to steer clear of him until he makes the first move. Elka wants to quit mopping floors and land an administrative job with the big Italian company that has an office in her small Polish town.

Stefek thinks he can trick fate into changing his destiny, and maybe he can, although his magical efforts keep him perilously close to the railroad tracks and the trains that speed ominously down them. Elka plans to help herself, learning Italian, even letting her ambition get ahead of her loyalty to Stefek for one sorry moment.

Stuckzi follows the fate of Stefek and Elka, telling the story so visually that the subtitles are almost unnecessary. As Good As News enjoyed the movie, the characters, the pacing and the small Polish town setting. There is humor aplenty, especially in the eddies of life that swirl around Violka (Joanna Liszowska), the neighborhood slut, Elka's loyal boyfriend, the car-obsessed Jerzy (Rafal Guzniczak) and Jerzy's life coach Turek (Grzegorz Stelmaszewski), who expounds at length on a uniquely automotive theory of romance. Based on the quality of the humor that does come through, As Good As News suspects there was even more here for those who understand Polish, dulled in the lost timing and lost subtleties of the subtitles.

Subtitles or no, Tricks is worth renting. See it in the theater if you can go with a Polish speaking friend.

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