Polish Cinema: These Daughters of Mine (Kinga Debska, 2015, Poland)

These Daughters of Mine (Moje corki krowy) is the second feature film by director Kinga Debska. Before this film, Debska directed many episodes of the long-running Polish soap opera, M jak milosc. The film, written by Debska, is based on her own family experiences. It tells the story of two sisters - Marta (Agata Kulesza) and Kasia (Gabriela Muskala) - who must come together as their mother ends up with a serious illness and coma. Kulesza is probably best known to audiences outside of Poland for her leading role in Pawel Pawlikowski's 2013 film Ida, while Gabriela Muskala is familiar to me from her starring role in director Agnieszka Smoczynska's follow-up to The Lure - Fugue (2018).

These Daughters is a well-executed family drama that delivers on all the key points needed to make these films work. The tension between Agata Kulesza and Gabriela Muskala is drawn out throughout the film and becomes over-the-top only when it needs to be. Kulesza is playing herself, as a recognized actress. Muskala's Kasia is a counterpoint to Kulesza's cold and careerist mentality - we see her character at mass. She has a mystical side that contrasts with Marta's materialism - even hiring a shaman to communicate with her mother when she falls into a coma. Marian Dziedziel as the domineering father is the glue that holds the film together, and his eventual decline in health also adds to the film's emotional impact.

While the film loses some of its sense of humor in the latter half, it is nevertheless successful, and never verges into the sentimental. The fact that the film ends with some acceptance of the reality of the situation makes it stand in contrast to many familiar Hollywood family dramas. Kinga Debska has had a successful career since this film and I am eager to see more of her work. 



Popular Posts