A Polish award winning
film shot in black and white
, 2001. It tells about a teenager named Tereska who wants to become a fashion designer
. She enrolls a sewing school which is disappointing because the atmosphere is very discouraging. Tereska is from a poor family and in addition, her money for the school material is stolen. This also prevents her attending the journey with her choir
Her father has an alcohol problem and lack of support at home and at school makes her befriend a nasty schoolmate, Renata. Renata opens up the gates of cigarettes, liquor and sex. Tereska accustoms herself to bad habits and as a final clinch she is raped. It's also revealed that it was Renata who stole her money.
Tereska runs from home, gets caught up by police for a violent incident and finally, is going down, down, down... The film ends when Tereska returns home after she beats up an old man in a wheelchair. The spectator is, however, left to wonder if she still tries to turn back to better but there's a feeling that exactly opposite is about to happen.
The film looks a bit like a documentary, but of course, it isn't. I have a strong feeling that the film is characteristic for post-communist Poland. There were/are big hopes but for awful lot of people the collapse of the communist regime hasn't meant a change for the better. Poverty may be the only friend at home. Some kids are not taken care of. The gap between dreams and reality is bigger than people can take. In this sense, the movie can be considered illustrative. However, the wierd thing was that Tereska's childhood was strongly romanticized. This may give you a feeling that things were better when communists were in the power. But when Tereska visits a church, contemplating her life, rehearsals for the kids' first Holy Communion is just like a flashback from her own life. Tereska cannot face the choir leader who spots her but runs away from church unable to accept what has happened, how the neighbourhood and the people have made her change.
If you want to have fun, avoid the film, although the teenage language can be found funny if you stop thinking the cruelty of it in real life, that is. There were also some Polish present among the audience and obviously not all the jokes were translated (English subtitles).