Posted at 6:31 PM on January 3, 2008
by Euan Kerr
Spent a while chatting with Walker Art Center Film Curator Sheryl Mousley this afternoon about the upcoming "Expanding the Frame" series, and the other film events the Walker has planned for the rest of the year.
More on that later, but we also got a chance to see Piotr Uklanski's "Summer Love," a bleak and bloody take on the Western, seen from a Polish point of view. It's a wild tale of drinking and gunflights, lost love, old grudges, and more drinking.
Uklanski, who will introduce the film at the Walker on the 12th and 13th January screenings, calls the film "a copy of a copy." It's an allegory of Polish history during the end of communism, setting an Eastern European story in a Wild West frame.
One of the many intriguing things about the film is it's performed entirely in English by Polish actors. (Val Kilmer has what's been described as a cameo role, although as he plays a corpse and appears repeatedly through the film, I'm not sure that's the right word.)
Another thing is there are only two prints of the film, both owned by Uklanski, who sees himself more as an artist than a film maker. He made the film in 2006, and has basically been travelling around with it ever since. He thinks it should only be seen as a 35 mm projection, so it may never be released on DVD. The Walker screenings will be only the second time the film has been shown in the US.
The film was shown in Poland, without subtitles, which means that it may be easier to understand the plot here than there. Uklanski considered subtitles, but decided it would be too complicated, and that something would be lost along the way, so left the film as it is.
So the question is what do you call a piece like this? A Polska western? Or as someone suggested here in the MPR newsroom, a kielbasa Western?