26 febrero 2011

Tadeusz Chmielewski - Ewa chce spac (1958)

1:34:42 Min | Xvid 1.518 kbps | 640x464 | 25 fps | Ac3 448 Kbps.| 1.31 GB
Polaco/Polish | Subtitles: Castellano, English, French, German and Polish .srt

Ewa Bonecka, estudiante, llega la víspera del comienzo del año escolar por la tarde a una pequeña ciudad. Trata de hallar alojamiento, pero no hay habitaciones libres. Se ve, por tanto, obligada a pasar toda la noche en la calle, una calle plagada de criminales, prostitutas donde también aparecen policias bondadosos… Hay peligro por todos los sitios, pero ella, una chica formal e ingenua, ni se entera…
A film made in a style of street ballad is a directing debut by Tadeusz Chmielewski. It is also the first film for Barbara Kwiatkowska, then a seventeen year old winner of the contest which attracted thousands of girls from Poland. The film depicts the adventures of an innocent farm girl who comes to the city a day before the new school year starts. A janitor does not let her in the dormitory and Eve is left without overnight accommodation. She meets a friendly policeman and then becomes involved in surreal events, involving unusual figures such as: policemen, thieves and prostitutes.

An essay by Mariola Dopartowa
Eva Wants to Sleep - A socialist gingerbread house

On 9 March 1958, after the premiere of this debut movie of Tadeusz Chmielewski, the critic Aleksander Jackiewwicz announced in "Trybuna Ludo" that true Polish comedy had been born. The movie marked the beginning of a distinct movement of surrealistic comedies in post-October cinematography, and gained the status of the movement's best film. Eve Wants to Sleep was considered a metaphor for a world awakening after the Stalinist night and advancing under the bright prospect of Gomulka's thaw. It may even be that it was the phrase "Stalinist night" that convinced cinematography authorities to finance this strange and unusual idea for a movie - as strange as the city (the city in the movie is called "strange") in which the equally strange plot is set.

Eva Wants to Sleep was in fact the result of a significant transformation in cinematography that took place in the socialist bloc under the influence of the cultural politics of the USSR. The first distinctive signs of reversing this influence in Polish culture, called Gomulka's thaw, had appeared at the beginning of 1957, closely related to the fate of the suppressed Hungarian uprising. Wladyslaw Gomulka had tried to intervene, at first as an ambiguous mediator between the Hungarians and the Soviet command, but finally withdrew in terror not only from the Hungarian issue but even from the watered-down promises he had given Polish society based on the developments. By the beginning of 1958, the political thaw was over. Thus, the movies and other artistic works created during that period cannot be interpreted as taking into account only Gomulka's thaw; the interaction of events was very complex.

The dialogues of Eva Wants to Sleep were written by Jeremi Przybora. It was a completely new phenomenon, paralleling the expansion of cabarets at the time. The classic Old Gentlemen Cabaret or the comedy Heat (Upal) directed by Kazimierz Kutz with the participation of Cabaret members constituted a separate and unique event in Polish culture, which luckily cannot be classified into any scheme. The enormously talented Przybora (and his Cabaret partner, Jerzy Wasowski) exploited the best 20th century traditions of slightly surrealistic humour. Przybora, with grace, lightness and sophistication used language that did not have to "demask", "stigmatise", or be "for" or "against". The normality, correctness and elegance of his language were values in themselves and gave it its surrealistic features. In comparison, the degraded language forms used in Polish People's Republic were exposed; it was very easy to spot what kindled a good mood, optimism, and hope for the better future, while at the same time not conforming to any propaganda or ideology.

The screenplay of the movie (the dialogues in particular) was living evidence of the authentic possibilities of a cinematography absorbed in the culture of its time. It created new artistic values, and did not construct them from different, randomly connected ideological elements. It was to some extent influence by the black series documentaries, a series of Polish films regarded as one of the main determinants of Gomulka's thaw. Its first portent appeared in 1955 as Look Out, Hooligans! by Edward Skorzewski and Jerzy Hoffman. These kinds of movies, which also included those of Kazimierz Karabasz, showed a new picture of Polish reality. It remains disputable whether that picture was true, or merely contrary to socrealism; undoubtedly, it was different than images of youths in uniform, zealously building a whole new political system, united with the Party and their brothers from the East Bloc and the whole world in communistic faith. The fact that movies treated social pathologies in the mid-1950s was simple consequence on the Stalinist uniformisation of life, which forbade different of socialistic views. These films warned that by destroying all remains of Stalinism, the chances of self-realisation of young people could not be liquidated; thus it postulated the need to establish a new organisation that could wrench young people away from mindless pleasures and drinking. It is hard not to notice the ideological ambiguity.

The film is a seriocomedy about a naive farm girl who arrives late at night in a medium-sized city to find she is too early to take up residence in the school dormitory. For the whole night she is homeless, a tramp wandering the city. Like a child, Eva assumes that the world is good and people are simple-hearted. The assembly of people she meets presents a panorama of the social problems discreetly hidden in surrealistic tissue. At night thieves and prostitutes take over the streets, unrecognized by the innocent teenager. She interacts with owners of suspicious bars, watches lovers wander in the park, observes night watchmen and policemen going about their routines. The idealisation of the militia (here called the police) is particularly intriguing as it is close to Stalinist images, although here achieved by application of new means: lyrical and full of subtle humour. The picture of reality is completely de-realised, functioning outside time and history.

Even if viewers do not identify with the childish Eva, they may recognise in her disorientation their own sense of loss. In this world people and things are not what they seem. The movies of the Polish Film School treated this problem seriously. But in Chmielewski's movie the sad trait of the totalitarian world is shown not as an existential second meaning, but as an element skillfully turning the action into a comedy of errors. Eva, confronted with such a world, is funny; so is the plot. But the problems that are experienced by the characters in the movie cannot be classified as such. So we can see that the character of a girl playing a Forrest Gump kind of role, through which the absurdities and eccentricity of our world, which usually escape our attention, can be better illustrated.

The way the police officers are portrayed is absurd; they are as childish and awkward as the bereft Eva, yet dead serious. Against this background, the criminal word is shown in the movie seems to be full of fantasies, alive and true. The scenes of a master thief educating young students on his art are among the funniest in the movie. Yet the lyrical policeman marks the beginning of a rich gallery of such characters in the works of the Wasowski-Przybora duo, and the viewer's amusement may be due only to the stark and terrible realisation of the contrast between his world and the fiction of the film. Playing hopscotch of blowing on a flute while arresting criminals can amuse the average viewer only when he conciously rejects the status of the naive (and sleepy) Eva. Viewers watched this movie at a time when the Stalinist prisons had not yet been completely emptied, but Chmielewski's goal was to introduce the healing balm of keeping distance by laughing, not by demasking obvious matters. In fact, it seems that Eva Wants to Sleep was one of the very few movies which totally befundled the censors. In this comedy the border between infantile police and conventional criminal had disappeared.

In the second half of the 1950's, Poland was still a devastated country where the poverty and lack of opportunity were drastically worsened by a stagnant economy and the aggressive politics of the Soviet Union. Moscow was focused on subverting national identity and retaining a cheap labour force toiling away in the workshops. In such an environment the criminal world flourished. As in every totalitarian system, the authorities used the criminal world they blackmailed for various purposes: from denouncing and intimidating, to controlled aggression towards citizens and groups, either chosen or random. For this work, the state needed to develop a monstrous security apparatus. The more endangered people felt, the more willingly they let themselves hide under the protective wings of the militia as a necessary evil - and perhaps very necessary. Party officials at all levels interacted with the criminal word under conditions similar to those in the camps, where officials and guards exploited the inmates. In the socialist camp of the East bloc countries, the truly rebellious, independent and "wild" criminals living in ruins, forests or other "romantic" places, belonged only in literary and cinema fantasies, like the candy and gingerbread hut concocted in Chmielewski's movie. But the viewer should bear in mind the significance of the gingerbread house in the tale of Hansel and Gretel.

The constant disguising of police as criminals and vice versa, a classic motif of film comedies, is a clear reference to the fading borders between the two elements in the Polish People's Republic as well. The laughing vanishes when we remember who, and for what purpose, were wearing the militia uniforms, what clothes state officers wore, and why. Years later, the same ambiguity would be exploited by Andrzej Rosiewicz in his funny song about militants in disguise after the so-called Bydgoszcz events.

During this time, the authorities were trying to educate the large group of militia officers, to rid them of coarseness and boorishness - that is, to enhance the public image of the wearers of the militia uniform. Few educational materials of the militia school from Gomulka's that period have been preserved, but they are true gems - and among the most expensive souvenirs of the times, as evidenced by auctions in the Internet. With surprise, we find training sessions using satirical drawings from foreign newspapers, absurd lectures on correct Polish language and good behaviour, and even pictures of a police station and an examination room - so recruits wouldn't somehow be misled. These materials differ little from the surrealisitic visions in the Chmielewski film. They showed the two faces of Janus in the People's Republic: in materials marked "confidential" we can find instructions on how to disperse crowds, how to invigilate and how to set traps for citizens. They are not funny at all.

The critics, while acclaiming the absurd humour of the movie, treated it according to the Gomulka that standards: they created the impression that the movie is allowing society to recover from the "Stalinist night" trauma. Yet the presence of the film team on the screen in Eva Wants to Sleep suggests the film may be a hidden satire of Gomulka's thaw itself. To this day, descriptions of this period, repeated practically verbatim from one study to another, praise the newly (but temporarily) converted and reformed Gomulka and describe an extremely naive and innocent society that has regained its student theatres, cabarets, jazz music, fashionable clothes and coloured socks.

The film convincingly displays the ubiquitous naivety and innocence symbolised by Barbara Kwiatkowska (Roman Polanski's first wife) playing a woman-child patronizing reality. Writers, thinkers, historians and cultural critics often stress that a basic element of totalitarian utopia is infantilisation - often seen as "pretending to be grown-up" - in which the attributes of maturity are seriousness, gloom, solemnity and sorrow. Eva is one of those comedies in which the characters are dead serious, and that seriousness is an additional catalyst. Later, Przybora and Wasowski would make this subtle somberness a trademark of their works. This should be kept in mind while watching the movie - just to make sure you remain on the right side of the screen and haven't gotten involved in the fiction of the film.

Dvdrip by Urszula

Subtítulos en castellano cortesía de Parangutín.


7 comentarios:

scalisto dijo...

Gracias, jota. Me la llevo envuelta para regalo. El título me hizo recordar un cuento de Chejov: Spat Jóchetsya "Quiere dormir" o "Quiere dormirse", que es conocido como "Un asesinato". Saludos.

El lobo estepario dijo...

Su nombre es: difusión cultural.

Este tipo de películas (y eso que ésta en concreto ganó en Donosti) ni están editadas, ni se emiten en pases televisivos, ni nada.

Y gracias a internet, cualquiera, quien quiera, puede verlas. Y quienes hacen los subtítulos, no cobran.

Tú deja que los hombres se organicen libremente, sin intermediarios, sin Estado tutelar, y cosecharás los mejores frutos.

Carlos dijo...

¿Será posible que al final haya que recordar algo tan sencillo como que sin ese "Estado tutelar" no es que no vaya a haber fruto alguno que cosechar, sino que toda siembra sería imposible? Que a la bestia haya que ponerle bozal no puede hacer olvidar que su ausencia o nos devuelve a la ley del más fuerte o al ya conocido feudalismo. Situación, esta última, por lo demás ya muy próxima, como se encargan de promover sin descanso, y hasta sin ayuda de los ingenuos, toda la facción de los liberales, hoy ya un auténtico ejército.

Anónimo dijo...

Jo, lobo de "liberal" nada, anarka más bien, el cabronazo. Pero sin que sirva de precedente, estoy con él, cuantos menos intermediarios, mejor. No haré de abogado del diablo, pero, entre estado tutelar, y estado, hay distancia. Ya aquí la ley Sinde nos lo recuerda, que ese estado tutelar se queda la siembra para él.

Mercutio, liberal de pro, de los que ya no quedan, que va a disfrutar de Eva sin el permiso del gobierno, ;)

Matapuzes, lobo y Victoriano, se os extraña en los debates

Juan Carlos Abril dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
scalisto dijo...

Eva quiere dormir de Tadeusz Chmielewsk recuperada por Don Belianis

omc dijo...

Desconocida para mí, pero vaya que pinta bien
Muchas gracias por tu trabajo Scalisto, y la gratitud se extiende a quienes recuperaron la peli