REVIEW OF THE FILM "THE PLACE" BY JULIA POPŁAWSKA
At the first sight, the latest documentary film by Julia Popławska, "The Place," is a portrait of the employers of the Meteorological Observatory at Kaspowy Wierch; however, such a description would be a considerable simplification, since the author goes much further, crosses the boundary of a documentary portrait and makes a small, extremely consistent as far as form is concerned, treatise on the essence of observation.
The essence of observation - it is what the film by Popławska mainly speaks about. The protagonists, the employers of the observatory, appear as people with a mission, service, with something much more important than just work. They bring to mind ancient alchemists, astronauts and the first cosmonauts who dreamt about conquering and describing the universe. This universe in "The Place" is the nature surrounding the observatory and all meteorological phenomena. Julia Popławska looks with delight into this space, looking not only with the eye of the camera, but also through the fascinating tools of the researchers, including a mysterious glass ball in which everything, which surrounds the protagonists, is reflected.
Reference to the universe is not accidental - in "The Place," the camera moves like on the inside of a space station, making smooth circles. This solution gives a result similar to the films about astronauts, as if the observatory at Kasprowy Wierch was suspended in space, as if it was in the state of weightlessness. This is not the only one interesting formal solution used in the film. "The Place" is the film in which the most important things reach us through image and sound. Starting with the first scene, in which we are attacked by snow carried by a strong wind, we can directly feel the hard conditions with which the protagonists have to struggle and which the film-makers had to face. From time to time, "The Place" causes the viewer to feel cold, fear, sometimes we look with delight at the workings of nature. As if through the image and exceptional atmosphere, the author invited us to travel to some kind of special place.
Touching this world by image and sound - this is how Popławska comes closer to her protagonists. Just like they do, she faces the beautiful space, which is impossible to describe, and directs her camera at it and tries to bring closer to us at least a part of this extraordinary space.