4 September 2009 | vtverb
No salvation found
Plac Zbawiciela is about a contemporary Polish small child family. Bartek and Beata and the children are supposed to move into their dream house - but the developer runs bankrupt and they are forced to move into the flat of Barteks mother - Teresa. It soon goes downwards - Beata is unable to fit into the new life situation, find a job after her continuous studying and cut down on her luxurious expenses on behalf of the family. Her more practical husband is not afraid to express his annoyance, neither his mother, who has got the daughter in law she never could stand inside her doorstep.
The film is a tragedy. This we know from the very first scene, when Teresa receives a telephone regarding her daughter in law and grandchildren, and then breaks down in torment and tears. It is the basso continuo through the whole film, the destiny that we see reveal itself, but we try to fight together with main character - Beata.
Because Beata is a kind of social victim - full of vices, without doubt, even cruel to the only ones she can control - her own children, but with her open heart and faithful feelings she is a contrast and unable to fit into the practical world of everybody else. The film is packed with literary speaking calculating women - young capitalists working in the field of economy. And as the queen of this universe is the steady working Teresa of the older generation, who is an accountant.
And on and on again we see Plac Zbawiciela, Saviours square. But there is no such thing, the square does not exist in Poland, and what we see is the cold (but beautiful, though)naked square of Nowa Huta, Krakow. No monument to be seen, no fundament to rely on.
There is a certain critique of the contemporary lack of social security in the film. If the law had protected the house buyers better, things might have turn out different. A financial situation forcing families to take on to living conditions that are destructive to them is undoubtedly an important theme. But in this film I find such a critique rather shallow and unfit. The description of how the bankruptcy of the developer leads to the families financial crisis is caricated and leads to a lot of unanswered questions. But it doesn't matter. The film is not about that.
The film is about what capitalism does with the human soul. The torment is to see how indifferent and not open to dialog everybody in the film are. Bartek mainly doesn't talk about any problem. Its heartbreaking, how he a couple of times turns down his own children on their bed, obviously expressing a burden on heart. Teresa openly express her dismays and contempt from her matriarcatic position. Most ironic is the moment when Beata finally and heartfelt apologize after a quarrel where her mother of law has attacked her in the cruelest manner. Teresa then "forgives" her - saying "Yes, such you are to learn in life". The other characters are giving disturbing unemphatic answers like "You want me to say it will be better?" or "You want me to say Im sorry?".
No salvation found. But there is something to contemplate upon; Teresa's agony in the first scene compared with her jeremiads over her lost money in the building project. A smile, a kiss, laughter is still for free. They still have two well born children and do not starve. So why is no salvation found? When the tragedy is fulfilled, we see sun shines on gigantic stone monument of the Virgin and Saviour, then a picture of a mother taking care of her child in a wagon. And the films twisted end bears a kind of beautiful salvation, revealing step by step, but not without sorrow, loss and contemplation.