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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Grezegorz Cisiecki
Grezegorz Golaszewski,  Katarzyna Dalek, Hubert Jarczak
Running Time
Country of Origin

 "Smoke" Review 
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It's always an extraordinary experience to view a film that trusts its vision enough to allow audiences to figure out the story. This 7-minute short from Polish writer/director Grezegorz Cisiecki is such a film.

To call Smoke a surrealistic film is a bit of an understatement, for Cisiecki has enveloped the film in images, sounds and ideas that will twist the senses and attract your complete attention. A "bad" surrealistic film does so pretentiously and with no real sense of purpose whatsoever, but a "good" surrealistic film, and this is a good one, does so in such a way that the story and the images and the sounds begin to form meaning and purpose within the viewer's mind.  As Cisiecki's cinematic experience was flowing across the screen, my mind begin filling in the gaps in story, dialogue and meaning in a way that made sense for me.

There are pieces, homages really, present in Smoke to Lynch, Kubrick, Argento and others contained within the film. Some of you will "get" them, some of you will find yourselves watching this short and going "What the F***?" Both responses are appropriate, as is virtually any response when watching a film this surreal.

The performances are presented non-verbally, a wise choice on the part of Cisiecki that heightens the surrealism and drives home a sense of suspense and wonder about the film. The ensemble cast pulls it off admirably, communicating wonders with body language and facial expression that speaks without words.

D.P. Dawid Rymar lenses the film beautifully, creating mystery and mystique when appropriate with ever so brief moments of lucidity. The original composition by Aleksandr Porach and Rashid Brocca is played to perfection in a way both expressive and elusive in meaning. Maciej Bieganski's production design nicely captures what feels like the film's spiritual undertones contained within its sensuality.

Smoke has played throughout Europe, and given its recent conversion to an English title it may be that Cisiecki is targeting American releases at this point. Indeed, this SHOULD occur as this experimental and surreal short film would be quite popular on the indie and experimental film fest scene.
    The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge

    The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.

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