Review: ‘Holiday Weekend’

A provocative and dryly funny dramatic comedy marbled with contempo Polish political barbs, "Holiday Weekend" is helmer Robert Glinski's low-key follow-up to incisive 2001 juvenile delinquent drama "Hi, Tereska." More likely to find tube than theatrical slots outside the region, this finely drawn item is a good fit for fests, and confirms Glinski as a socially responsible filmmaker with a perceptive voice.

A provocative and dryly funny dramatic comedy marbled with contempo Polish political barbs, “Holiday Weekend” is helmer Robert Glinski’s low-key follow-up to incisive 2001 juvenile delinquent drama “Hi, Tereska.” More likely to find tube than theatrical slots outside the region, this finely drawn item is a good fit for fests, and confirms Glinski as a socially responsible filmmaker with a perceptive voice.

In the finals of the Polish TV show “Blind Date,” affable military band leader Bogdan (Krzysztof Globisz) chooses contestant No. 3, Marta (Joanna Zolkowska), sight unseen, on the strength of her answer to the question “as a professor at the college of love, what songs would you teach your students?”

Though they share a certain middle-aged plainness and complacency, any similarity between the two stops there: Marta’s a bitter and tightly wrapped librarian who supported the Solidarity movementand is determined to win her way through quizshows, while the stodgy Bogdan is devoted to his work, and faithfully flies the Polish flag.

Their prize is a theoretically romantic getaway at a Polish seaside hotelduring the state holidays. Aghast to learn they’re to share a suite, Marta insists on drawing up strict rules of conduct, and the pair settle down for an uncomfortable stay.

When Bogdan manipulates management into allowing him to organize politically charged social events that include a hilarious karaoke session with political overtones, Marta arranges for famous poet Tomaszek (Boguslaw Kierc), visiting under somewhat mysterious circumstances, to give a reading. A charming coda finds Bogdan bailing Marta out on a subsequent quizshow appearance, and perhaps winning himself a partner.

Pic successfully melds the touching story of two lonely hearts with political observations that may be lost on Western viewers but don’t, in the end, detract from the story’s human elements. Globisz and Zolkowska underplay nicely, with authentic support from a fine ensemble. Tech credits are brisk and clean, with vid lensing fitting nicely with the quizshows that bookend the action.

Holiday Weekend

Poland

Production

A Persptektywa Film Studio production. (International sales: TVP, Warsaw.) Produced by Janusz Morgenstern, Jerzy Buchwald. Directed by Robert Glinski. Screenplay, Jaroslaw Sokol.

Crew

Camera (color, Beta SP), Zbigniew Wichlacz; editor, Ewa Smal; art director, Dorota Ignaczak; sound, Malgorzata Lewandowska. Reviewed at Finale Pilsen (Central European Film), Czech Republic, May 1, 2005. Running time: 72 MIN.

With

Krzysztof Globisz, Joanna Zolkowska, Leszek Piskorz, Boguslaw Kierc, Maciej Damiecki, Slawomir Orzechowski.
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