Expert thesping and beautiful lensing aren’t quite enough to make “Jasminum” more than an overextended plot that occasionally borders on the precious. Set in a monastery whose residents exude an intoxicating scent, finely crafted pic again confirms helmer Jan Jakub Kolski (“Pornography”) as an interesting talent with a flair for upending expectations. But he gets tripped up by blandly quirky side characters grafted onto a weak centuries-old romance. “Jasminum” swept the Polish Film Awards and has been touring Polish fests Stateside, but further play looks uncertain.
Paintings conservator Natasha (Grazyna Blecka-Kolska, superb) arrives at a monastery with her young daughter, Gienia (Wiktoria Gasiewska, also narrator), to restore some canvases. Gienia takes a shine to Brother Sanitas (Janusz Gajos, exceptional), who’s been supplying the townspeople with scraps of the monks’ clothing because of their enthralling fruitwood scent. Natasha dabbles in perfumery, and tries to distill the fragrance, but something is missing. Maybe the solution is linked to the ghostly vision of a 17th-century beauty (Patrycja Soliman). D.p. Krzysztof Ptak uses light with a painterly eye, and pic’s toying with the monastery’s timelessness adds an appealing dimension. Title is Latin for “jasmine.”