cinema

Film review: My Friend the Polish Girl

Filmmakers Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek come together to write and direct indie drama My Friend the Polish Girl. A film about a film, the narrative is told from the point-of-view of American documentarian Katie (Emma Friedman-Cohen) who focuses her lens on aspiring Polish actress Alicja (Aneta Piotrowska) for her latest work. Intended as a study of an immigrant living in a post-Brexit-vote Britain, the project soon takes a dark turn.

Katie shoots her movie with playful amateurishness, clumsily adding text and emojis to her shaky black and white visuals. We hear her imploring, investigative voiceover, and bear witness to the developing bond between muse and voyeur. In presenting this relationship to us in quite candid fashion, Banaszkiewicz and Dymek engage their audience in the female gaze but the dynamic begins to shift as Alicja appears to turn the tables on Katie. The final act makes for highly uncomfortable but essential viewing.

My Friend the Polish Girl is seductive and darkly satirical, cleverly posing as cinéma-vérité shockumentary. Showing the grim realities of making ends meet in modern-day London, Alicja Dabrowska excels in a cat-and-mouse plot where it’s never quite clear who is really in control.


My Friend the Polish Girl is in selected cinemas from 19th July

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