Made in Poland Offers Thugs, Then Hugs


Somewhere in Poland, a kid named Bogus has tattooed the phrase “Fuck Off” on his forehead, because he’s angry at “everybody.” “We need a revolution,” he shouts at his priest. Yelling at a disabled security guard, he claims his anger is “like AIDS.” Bogus’s disillusionment is so absolute and inflexible that he quickly devolves into a caricature of “angry young man,” a dye job away from Vyvyan Basterd of The Young Ones, minus that show’s sense of humor. The usual institutions—religion, education, parenthood—have all failed this nihilistic youth.

Przemyslaw Wojcieszek’s Made in Poland wants to make sure you understand whose fault it is, mainly by bashing it into your head. Wojcieszek had only written films before penning this script in 2004—and it shows. Though this Play Company offering headlines 59E59’s festival of new Polish works, its awkwardly cinematic story is staler than last year’s kielbasa. Bogus, sporting skinhead attire and carrying a length of pipe, gets overexcited one night and vandalizes a car. But the vehicle turns out to belong to a local thug. The thug’s gang finds Bogus out and demands to be repaid $20,000 immediately, or they’ll kill him. But even this thin movie plot point languishes in underdevelopment. The thugs aren’t particularly threatening, and, like nearly everyone in the play, they get sidetracked by their sentimental devotion to Krzysztof Krawczyk, a tacky pop star and folk hero.

When the thugs finally catch up to Bogus, the priest begs them off with $5,000. In the next moment, Bogus finds religion and decides he wants to marry Monica, a girl he has practically harassed into having a relationship—a turn that doesn’t come off as character development, but rather like the cast skipped 10 pages of the script. The wedding follows immediately. One is left with the horrible urge to stereotype whichever Polish people chose this unfortunate drama to represent them.