The narrative feels like an overstuffed quilt, but this selection of moments from the life of Bronislawa Wajs is gorgeous to behold.
Strikingly beautiful, but curiously aloof from its earthy subject matter, this portrait of a little-known Polish-Roma poet feels like the kind of film that would be more at home at a festival than in the release schedule.
A patchwork of moments from the life of Bronislawa Wajs (Jowita Budnik), known as Papusza (or Doll), the film is always striking – the black and white cinematography is gorgeous (self-consciously so, at times) – but you wonder whether this overstuffed quilt of a story might have worked better with a leaner, more direct approach.
As it is, the film is a bit of a slog and bizarrely, given the subject matter, rather lacking in poetry.
It comes to life as a portrait of the Roma community of which Papusza was both part and, latterly, estranged from. The use of music, in particular, is evocative.