Poland | 2016 | 72 min | Polish |
The burden of adult responsibilities forced on children by careless adults is vividly captured in this compelling documentary from Poland. Ola is 14 and looks after both her 13-year- old autistic brother Nikodem and her feckless father—cooking, cleaning and tying shoelaces. Ola’s mother, meanwhile, lives with another man, with whom she has another child. Using Nikodem’s Catholic Holy Communion as a pretext to get the family together, Ola takes responsibility for organising the event, which includes helping her brother to memorise his scripture. Communion reveals the beauty of the rejected, the strength of the weak and the need for change when change seems impossible. This crash course in growing up maintains that no failure is final and skilfully draws out our empathy as viewers.
Director, screenwriter and producer Anna Zamecka lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. She studied journalism, anthropology and photography in Poland and the Netherlands, and completed the Dok Pro Documentary Programme at Wajda School, Warsaw. She describes her first feature, Communion, as “a realistic, non- black-and- white version of the tale about Hansel and Gretel looking for their path in the forest of the world, where parents cannot perform their roles”. Anna says the film asks, “How much can a child bear? Just as much as hope enables them to—their hope that mother will return, that family can be brought together again—and most of all, hope that someone will finally absolve them from responsibility.”