Cinematic Playground: Polish filmmaker talks of reel violence and effects

"We have actually stopped sensing the violence and its omnipresence in our lives,” said Polish director Bartosz M Kowalski, whose Polish film Playground was screened at Pune International Film Festival.

Written by NILESH YELGUNDE | Pune | Published:January 14, 2017 4:27 am
Polish director Bartosz M Kowalski. Polish director Bartosz M Kowalski.

“Every morning we get up to a flood of news with a lot of violence in it but do we even notice? While going through our daily dose of newspaper a celebrity going on a vacation and a person getting killed in daylight is equally exciting or not exciting for us? We have actually stopped sensing the violence and its omnipresence in our lives,” said Polish director Bartosz M Kowalski, whose Polish film Playground was screened at Pune International Film Festival on Friday.

Sharing the point of trigger for Playground, he said, “In 1993, a two-year-old kid was abducted from a shopping mall in Liverpool and was actually cut into pieces by two boys aged 10 years. The news shook me to the core. As an artiste, I could not take this as just another incident of crime. It compelled me to do a lot of research on child psychology and then, the child psychopaths. I found many other incidents in which children were involved in gross violence. I just could not stop there. I had to vent it out and thus, the film came into being.”

The film is made in a very non-stereotypical way, which the director said was deliberate. “These days we see a lot of violence in our movies and it does not even register in our minds. When people are being killed on our screens, we keep munching on our popcorn,” he said, adding that he was wary of Playground being seen in the same way, which made him treat the film in an unconventional way. It included minimum use of lights while shooting, no crane shots, no close-ups and less camera craft,” he said.

“I didn’t want them to think that this is just a film and not to be taken seriously. I wish they take it as a matter of fact, something which is not merely happening on the screen but can happen with ourselves when we step out of the theatre,” he added.

According to Kowalski, the violence that is seen in the children is sometimes rooted in their surroundings, families and his upbringing. Sometimes troubled relationships of the parents, the political surroundings like refugee crises and civil wars also seed violence in the minds of the toddlers. “We need to sit down and think what are we giving in legacy to our next generations. The rise of far right governments around the world, the extremist stands that are being taken openly and even the outright promotion of violence by those who matter, is a serious thing. We can’t afford not to take cognisance of all this,” said the young filmmaker.

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