Review: ‘Saved by a Miracle’

A stubborn widower and WW2 vet gets the better of a gaggle of provincial Communist officials in "Saved by a Miracle," a modest and slightly droll fable by longtime director Janusz Zaorski. Crafted for the tube but platformed locally as a feature, pic's only worldwide exposure will be in specialty Polish fests.

A stubborn widower and WW2 vet gets the better of a gaggle of provincial Communist officials in “Saved by a Miracle,” a modest and slightly droll fable by longtime director Janusz Zaorski. Crafted for the tube but platformed locally as a feature, pic’s only worldwide exposure will be in specialty Polish fests.

Seemingly on his deathbed, Mikolaj Biesaga (Marian Opania) is actually a crafty old coot determined to erect a shrine to the Virgin Mary as thanks for helping him elude death in a wartime incident. He treats local officials with contempt, while his neighbors view him with pained bemusement and his daughter Hanka (Edyta Jungowska) butts heads with him over her apparatchik lover. The cleverest and sweetest ruse of Andrzej Mularczyk’s script is presenting visiting hooker Lola (Ewa Kasprzyk) as a con artist who really does have a heart of gold. Comedy feels dated in its concern for issues that were once all the rage in Polish film, but have retreated with capitalism’s aggressive rise. Opania, usually a reliable supporting thesp, makes the most of this Tevye-like role that gives him permission to vent comically and steal scenes.

Saved by a Miracle

Poland

Production

A Polish Television presentation of an Avocado TV production. (International sales: Polish Television, Warsaw.) Produced by Dariusz Jablonski, Violetta Kaminska, Izabela Wojcik. Directed by Janusz Zaorski. Screenplay, Andrzej Mularczyk.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Tomasz Wert; editor, Milenia Fiedler; music, Jerzy Chruscinski; production designer, Rafal Waltenberger; costume designer, Katarzyna Morawska; sound, Maria Chilarecka; supervising sound editor, Przemyslaw Jaworski; casting, Teresa Violetta Buhl. Reviewed on videocassette, Los Angeles, May 27, 2005. (In Polish Film Festival, Los Angeles.) Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Marian Opania, Ewa Kasprzyk, Edyta Jungowska, Slawomir Pacek, Wiktor Zborowski.
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