In her latest feature film, Satan Said Dance, which was released in Polish theatres on 5 May by Kino Swiat, Katarzyna Roslaniec once again turns her attention to her favourite type of character. Indeed, in all her films she focuses on young girls from today’s youth whose world revolves around shopping, (often unsafe) sex, alcohol, drugs and building up an image. A model which is pushed to extremes in this new opus.
Karolina (Magdalena Berus), aged around 20, has just published a novel that has achieved international fame, a sort of new version of Lolita by Nabokov. Her reaction to her success is a wild one: she throws herself into trying everything life has to offer with renewed gusto, in an incessant mix of ecstatic pleasure and suffering beating out the rhythm to an existence which seems to bear the marks of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Hyperactive, impulsive and a mess, she enters into hopeless relationships with older men and experiments with drugs, putting herself at serious risk (as her health is already threatened by a heart problem). And this aimless course of action only seems to lead to emptiness.
The structure of the film reflects the nature of the character, the narrative not being linear but made up of a series of 54 two-minute-long sequences, which together make up a fragmented portrait of Karolina put together in the style of Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. An approach which is somewhat artificial and is strengthened by a sort of special effect with extracts from Karolina’s novel, which are read against the backdrop of a black and white image, frozen at the bottom of the screen, of her face stylised to look like some sort of psychedelic doll. Nonetheless, the screenplay had real potential for further exploration, with interesting elements that are not really expanded upon, like the relationship between Karolina and her mother (Danuta Stenka), her relationship with her sister (Hanna Koczewska) and the more universal theme of the links between life and literature.