Determined to live on her own terms, a feisty, active nonagenarian designs some mischief in Polish helmer Dorota Kedzierzawska’s highly aestheticized “Time to Die.” Created as a showcase for extraordinary 91-year-old thesp Danuta Szaflarska, and for the luminous black-and-white lensing of multihyphenate Arthur Reinhart, the pic is a leisurely paced, impressionistic rendering of the quotidian routine of an elderly woman and her canine companion, set in a crumbling villa where memories of the past frequently pervade the present. Natural fest item might also find Euro broadcast markets.
From the first view of Aniela (Szaflarska) telling off a doctor, it’s apparent she’s no one to trifle with. At home with ultra-smart border collie Phila, she muses clear-mindedly on future possibilities and takes care of present needs. When nouveau-riche neighbors, aided by her cold-hearted son, conspire to gain her property, she finds a way to outsmart them. Chief among the pic’s many visual pleasures is Szaflarska’s remarkable perf. An actress of intelligence, grace and beauty who looks at least two decades younger, she’s ably supported by Reinhart’s gorgeous, baroquely detailed camerawork and Polish cinema’s best-trained, most photogenic dog.
— Alissa Simon