Mathew Szymanowski’s History of Solitude aka Historia Samotnosci

May 3 at 9pm: at SFIFF at the Kabuki, part of the Foreign Territories short series: Mathew Szymanowski’s History of Solitude, a.k.a. Historia Samotnosci. You wouldn’t go to Poland expecting it to look almost exactly like the United States, but that’s the trick this talented Santa Clara-raised expatriate filmmaker plays in this 32-minute short. Essentially, a pretty Polish twentysomething named Alicja (Anita Twarowska) has just arrived back from a trip to L.A., and is picked up by her dead-calm sort-of boyfriend Jacek (Matuesz Lasowski). On the autobahn, they head off to the deserted Baltic coast as Alicja prattles about Venice Beach and the rest of her trip abroad.The question is whether we’re watching the first crack in this relationship—or the last. From the freeway to the sands, the highly photogenic nation of Poland takes on the mask of middle America. And Szymanowski includes in his frame all the touchstones of Yank life—Coca-Cola, Levis, Marlboros, Glenn Miller music and convenience store food. This highly impressive film shows the director as someone who is a bit of a nostalgic for black-and-white film and pre-1965 music. What he brings to the story is fine composition and control of his actors; even the one-line part characters look like they have stories of their own. As the film’s real riddle, Lasowski has tremendous vitality.  (RvB)

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