Now memorable to UK audiences as Aunt Wanda in Pawlikowski’s Ida (also on BFI Player) Agata Kulesza was already well known in Poland when she played this title role, for which she won the Polish Academy Award for Best Actress.
Opening with a brutal rape scene that informs the moral centre of the film Rose explores what it is to be on the ‘wrong side’ of the authorities. Tadeusz (Marcin Dorociński), whose wife was probably the rape victim, sets out for the Mazury region on the former Polish Prussian Border to inform Rose that her husband has died. Her complex identity as a Masurian, German, Pole and as a woman makes her extremely vulnerable to abuse. Slowly they develop an understanding which defies their histories, being largely predicted on survival.
Director Smarzowski recently attracted attention with box-office success Clergy. His films surely tackle issues of importance head on, inviting us to understand their complexity, rather than resorting to stereotypes.
The film will be available as a part of BFI Player subscription from 6 - 27 May.