Anna Jadowska – Dzikie róze AKA Wild Roses (2017)


Ewa returns to her village after a hospital stay. She works on a plantation that grows wild roses. While Ewa was away her mother has been taking care of her children Marysia and Jas. Ewa’s husband Andrzej also returns home after working for months in Norway. The time apart has created distance between them. During Marysia’s first communion, Ewa starts to feel ill. Her friend Basia drives her home. Basia admits that she leaked the gossip to Andrzej about Ewa’s affair with Marcel, a local high school boy. Ewa meets Marcel on the rose plantation. She says that their relationship is over. After Marcel leaves, Marta realizes that Jas, her 2-year-old son, has disappeared. The search begins. After hours a policeman appears and says that Jas has been found. Marta and Andrzej go to the next village and pick up Jas. Ewa returns to the hospital she left a few days before. We discover that Ewa had given birth to a child and put it up for adoption. Ewa wants her child back.

Wild Roses: The intangible

14/11/2017 – While firmly rooting her story within a context, Anna Jadowska attempts to perceive the imperceptible, painting a picture of the human soul

The fifth feature film by Polish director Anna Jadowska, Wild Roses , in competition at the 27th Cottbus Festival, is reminiscent of In the Name Of by her colleague Malgorzata Szumowska, due to its bucolic and sunny scenery, but also its provincial context, at the heart of a committed and small Catholic community. The plot revolves around a moral conflict, which this time is not experienced by a priest tormented by his desires, but a mother and wife who doesn’t feel up to the importance of her roles, and who no longer even has the strength to try, faced with a community of shame, this time somewhat more externalised (instead of entirely internalised as it was in In the Name Of), and experience meant as a disruptive force rather than a guardrail.

Without wanting to give too much away about the plot, the film begins in a hospital. The theme of motherhood is central to the main character, Ewa (who tenderly raises a little girl and a baby). She sleeps in a house that is under construction, a teenager boy follows her, sometimes shouting her name through the window. One day a search is launched following a disappearance…

We can’t reveal any more than that, as the essence of the film lies in what comes next. But the way the narrative is constructed, carrying the film by igniting the audience’s curiosity until the very last minute, reflects on the lethargy and dismay of its heroine, placing us – quite nicely, without insisting too much on the other possible subjective approach – in a situation of partial comprehension and thus frustration for the young girl, a secondary character who is very skilfully brought to life, complex while remaining surprisingly plausible, entirely her age, as if she were born from the intimate recollection of past experiences.

It is precisely to this narrative exercise in sensitivity, based on the emotion of the situation, that Jadowska surrenders herself. Throughout the film she observes, hardly leaving Eva’s willowy and wet face, which, thanks to Marta Nieradkiewicz’s vulnerable, bare and formidable performance, expresseseverything without the need for dialogue, amongst the chaos, she reveals a whole range of subtle feelings, from love to pain, helplessness and shame. The imagery and soundtrack, as well as the atmosphere that they create, elegantly accompany this modest psychological portrait. The dry and light sounds, the small crunches of a radiant summer and the delightful rustling of the wild rose fields help to create a climate of summer idleness, which is conducive to a slow progression towards muted epiphanies, but which also invokes a sensation that buzzes and blurs, representing Eva as she roams, so powerfully so that the central themes take centre stage behind the veil of the disempowerment that surrounds them.

The latter is indeed, in the form of an omniscient ghost, the central character to a story that does not judge or close itself off. What Jadowska does in Wild Roses is describe a void, a solitude, but in an incredibly human and sensory manner, that emanates warmth.

by Bénédicte Prot

Subtitles:English, Spanish, Catalan (srt)

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