Director: Michal Krzywicki
Writer: Dagmara Brodziak and Michal Krzywicki
Starring: Dagmara Brodziak, Michal Krzywicki Marek Kalita, and Philippe Tlokinski
The Day I Found a Girl in the Trash is co-written and co-starring Dagmara Brodziak and Michal Krzywicki, with Krzywicki also directing. It’s an exploration of human rights, free choice, and what makes us human.
Szymon (Michal Krzywicki) has made an announcement that he is going to kill himself on New Year’s Eve, in protest to the way criminals are being treated in Poland. Instead of being sent to prison, they have their memories wiped and become automatons, incapable of independent thought and instead are used to complete menial tasks or even rented by wealthy families. Szymon’s announcement has created a stir in the media, but he starts to second guess himself when he finds a freed automaton in the trash, who names herself Blue (Dagmara Brodziak).
The film starts with a dark scene that shows how Blue is freed from being an automaton, when the collar around her neck is removed. The film doesn’t shy away from showing the brutality in the world right from the word go. With no spoilers here, it’s a shocking scene that grabs your attention and immediately puts you into the world the film creates.
Dagmara Brodziak gives a perfect performance as Blue, who wakes up without memories, and is almost a new-born child. Her wonder at the world is excellently shown, from the TV, finding new foods, to a chicken that she adopts as a pet. Her character is full of wonder at the world, and it’s through her that Szymon finds a new lease on life. He’s depressed with the state of the world, choosing to end his life in rebellion, while knowing it’s a pointless effort and nothing will change. His character contrasts nicely with Blue.
There are moments where Michal Krzywicki gets really frantic with the directing, with flashy and startling moments, with quick camera movements and startling shots. There’s a scene where Szymon is in his flat, before he finds Blue, and he’s contemplating the end of his life. It’s a frantic and energetic moment. There are a few other moments that do something similar, but it’s this one that really sticks in your mind.
While the title and premise of finding a girl in the trash make it seem like a light-hearted comedy, the tone of the film is much darker. There is a hopeless feeling that runs throughout right up to the end. It’s not just the way criminals are treated, Szymon has a strained relationship with his family, while he’s taking Blue to freedom everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. The colours are muted and dulled. There’s a dark world in the film, and that makes the brief moments of joy that much more impactful.
It’s the performances that really make this film great. The plot may meander a little and feel recycled from things you’ve seen before, but the characters are fresh and captivating. It’s really worth watching if you get the chance.
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