1991-2000DramaJanusz MorgensternPolandTV

Janusz Morgenstern – Zólty szalik AKA The Yellow Scarf (2000)

The Yellow Scarf is a film by Janusz Morgenstern from 2000. Janusz Gajos plays its protaganist, a man fighting with alcoholism, and is proof that television productions do not have to be worse than feature films.

The protagonist – a middle-aged man at the top of his career – does not have a name, nor a surname; he is a universal character, an everyman that everyone can identify with. On the Christmas Eve he consecutively meets with his employees, his ex-wife, his son and his present partner. His persistently prolonged rambling is meant to postpone the inevitable Christmas visit to his mother. Frequent shots of his favourite frozen liquor complements the day. The protagonist becomes more lost and trembling with every shot he has while the ambiance that surrounds him becomes more and more tense. During a dinner with his son he gives a flowery address about the goodness and pleasure of cold alcohol flowing down your throat. He describes vodka with more beautiful words and more sensitivity than when he talks about relations between humans.

The axle of the story is the yellow scarf worn by the protagonist, who loses it all the time and either buys another one or gets one from relatives. On Christmas Eve a scarf is given to him by his mother. It is meant to be his lucky charm that also helps to strengthen his free will and avoid having another shot.

Yellow Scarf is a Polish version of A Christmas Carol, being as sour as the protagonist’s favourite liquid and as warm as Christmas dinner. Janusz Gajos created an equally tragic but also incredibly decent and comic version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Both of them battle demons: either from the past – as in the case of Dickens’s story, or from the present – alcohol. Both characters provoke a deep reflexion on human fate.

Gajos plays a lost man whose successful career does not compensate for his inner pain and does not help to heal up the scars on his soul. With every sip he takes, an eloquent and charming man becomes a more devastated and tired shadow of the man he used to be. We do not know why he started drinking. Janusz Morgenstern does not explain everything but he certainly gives us some clues. The film states that alcoholism can touch anyone and that everything about this illness happens unspectacular, always in deep loneliness even when is in a group of people; and most importantly: there is nothing harder than fulfilling a ‘never again’ pledge.

The script was written by Jerzy Pilch, who has alcohol issues himself. His book about those experiences – Angel, was adapted by Wojciech Smarzowski. These two productions talk about the same problem in very different ways. There is no melancholy, nor jokes from the literary prototype in Angel. It is a brutal study of man’s physical and mental degeneration and collapse that shocks by its aesthetic directness. Morgenstern managed to stay close to Pilch’s book. Consecutive approaches to give up the addiction always end up in trying to talk it away with irony, buffoonery, and a large dose of self-distance.
Observing the world with a sober eye. My God,’ states the protagonist and takes a solid draught of alcohol. But the people surrounding him stay sober. We should notice Krystyna Janda as the protagonist’s actual partner and Danuta Szaflarska as his mother. The two women are warm and naïve. Janusz Morgenstern showed the irregularity, multidimensionality and weakness of human nature in a condensed form that lasts less than sixty minutes.(from culture.pl)

2.03GB | 57 min 51 s | 1920×1080 | mkv



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