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The Maids of Wilko

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Director  Andrzej Wajda
Story by  Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz
Language  Polish
7.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, Romance
Duration  
Country  Poland
The Maids of Wilko movie poster
Writer  Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Zbigniew Kaminski
Release date  4 September 1979 (1979-09-04)
Initial release  September 4, 1979 (Poland)
Characters  Wiktor Ruben, Julcia, Tunia, Wiktors Aunt, Wiktors Uncle, Kazia, Julcias Husband, Jolas Husband, Jola, Doctor, Zosia
Cast  Daniel Olbrychski (Wiktor Ruben), Anna Seniuk (Julcia), Maja Komorowska (Jola), Stanislawa Celinska (Zosia), Krystyna Zachwatowicz (Kazia), Christine Pascal (Tunia)
Similar movies  Self/less, The Captive, Django Unchained, Jamon Jamon, Sexual Chronicles of a French Family, Salt

The Maids of Wilko (Polish: Panny z Wilka) is a 1979 Polish drama film directed by Andrzej Wajda. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 52nd Academy Awards. "Maids" is used in the sense of "maidens", hence another translation could be The Maidens of Wilko.

Contents

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Plot

At the age of 40, Wiktor Ruben (Daniel Olbrychski) returns to the family property (Wilko) where he'd spent his late teens/early twenties as a tutor of young sisters. Now they are all adult women - mostly wives and mothers. Wiktor discovers that Fela, once the closest to him, has been dead for some time; the other sisters aren't keen to talk about her, and her grave is mostly forgotten. He is also disappointed by how all the women have changed. Julia (Anna Seniuk), now a mother of two, doesn't resemble his first object of desire and doesn't show him the affection he might have expected. Jola (Maja Komorowska), seemingly unhappy in her marriage, chases him and makes fun of him until he doesn't bring the painful memories of the past. Kazia (Krystyna Zachwatowicz), a divorcee - and thus treated as less worthy than the others - is the most demanding partner of his intellectual reflections, while Zosia (Stanisława Celińska) is - as always - distant and outspoken. That leaves him with Tunia (Christine Pascal), who was only a child when he previously knew her, and who now resembles Fela. Wiktor spends time in Wilko, but isn't able to see that his return restored once forgotten dreams and hopes to the sisters.

Cast

  • Daniel Olbrychski as Wiktor Ruben
  • Anna Seniuk as Julcia
  • Maja Komorowska as Jola
  • Stanislawa Celinska as Zosia
  • Krystyna Zachwatowicz as Kazia
  • Christine Pascal as Tunia
  • Zbigniew Zapasiewicz as Julcia's Husband
  • Zofia Jaroszewska as Wiktor's Aunt
  • Tadeusz Bialoszczynski as Wiktor's Uncle
  • Paul Guers as Jola's Husband (as Paul Dutron)
  • Possible reasons for the critical recognition

    The film is based on a popular short story written in the early 1930s by famous Polish poet Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz who even appears as himself near the end of the movie. Andrzej Wajda previously filmed another short story of Iwaszkiewicz, The Birch Wood in 1970 and would go to film yet another, Sweet Rush, in 2009. This particular film features impressive cast, very good (although non-original) score (music of Karol Szymanowski, who was a friend and cousin of Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz) and is otherwise technically brilliant. It received some awards in Poland and was nominated for an Oscar which it lost to The Tin Drum (also starring Olbrychski). Much of this happened because of deliberately avoiding anything that would trigger censorship from the communist authorities that governed Poland at that time. It is quite possible that the whole production was the results of games of influence inside the government-controlled film monopoly in Poland. It appears that the director Andrzej Wajda had built around himself enough buffer space to produce a clearly anti-communist film just two years later, Man of Iron.

    References

    The Maids of Wilko Wikipedia
    The Maids of Wilko IMDb The Maids of Wilko themoviedb.org


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