joi, 22 iunie 2017

Moonlighting, written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski

Moonlighting, written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:

This is a very good drama, with relevance in today’s world.
There is so much talk about a “beautiful, beautiful wall” that the orange Donald wants erected and other leaders contemplate in various parts of the world, where nationalists are on the rise, that the theme of Moonlighting sounds familiar.

It is the story of a group of workers that try to make some more money in a different, more developed county.
And it is an acclaimed film, included on The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made prestigious list:

It also won in the most important cinema competition that I know of- The Academy Awards promote lesser films in my view-Cannes:

The author won the Best Screenplay Prize.
Jeremy Irons is outstanding in the leading role.

He is Nowak, the English speaking leader of a construction team.
At the customs, as they enter Great Britain, he declares that they are coming to buy a second hand car.

-          Do you have money?
-          Yes…twelve hundred pounds
He shows the money but the truth is different.

They are in Britain because they will be paid to work there.
This will be done illegally and it will cost about five times less than a team that would be hired legally, with taxes paid.

The workers are Polish and some of their dialogue is incomprehensible, even if we can deduce that they are unhappy.
When there are exchanges they are mostly protestations against the policies and rules imposed by Nowak.

They work all the time and they just have a short pause for Christmas when they go to the church and a few times to the shop.
The scene when they enter the well-stocked shop, as opposed to what they have at home, is funny if not hilarious.

And I can vouch for its veracity, for the same thing happened to my mother when she went to America and was overwhelmed by the supermarkets there.
The problem is that they have very little money and the leader is soon unable to make ends meet and pay for various necessities.

More important, while the working men are in London, Poland is faced with a military coup and all communications are cut.
Nowak is hiding this news from his team and it is difficult, at one moment, a neighbor comes with the newspaper and the headlines and is shouting about the calamity facing that wretched country and Nowak hurries to shut the windows.

He is not fair with his colleagues, at least this could be one take on events, especially when he lies to them about the drama that could be engulfing their families back home and that they wait uselessly near a phone booth to call.
At another moment, in order to make the men believe that they slept for more hours, he changes the time on their only watch

-          My watch is the only one showing the correct time now…

Nowak has to steal from shops, because he has no more money left.
In the first place, his bicycle was stolen, just as he was buying things for the house that they work on and then he steals a bike.

-          “Nowak: I can speak their language; this is why the boss chose for me for the job. But I don't know what they really mean.”

This is a wonderful film, if depressing, about alienation, the ordeal of people who have to go away from their homes, live in hostile, unfamiliar surroundings, and cope with shortages and sometimes destitution.

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