Kochaj albo rzuc (Sylwester Checinski, 1977, Poland)

Kochaj albo rzuc (Love or Leave) is the third part in a trilogy directed by Sylwester Checinski, the first part being the classic comedy of quarreling Polish families - Sami swoi or Our FolksSami Swoi was followed by Nie ma mocnych or Take It Easy in 1974. Kochaj represents the last and final installment of the trilogy, as actor Wladyslaw Hancza died very soon after the film was made. Hancza again reprises his role as Wladyslaw Kargul, the elderly peasant from the Polish countryside who was dueling with Kazimierz Pawlak (played by Waclaw Kowalski) in the prior film. 

The film begins with Kazimierz and Wadyslaw's granddaughter Ania receiving an invitation to the United States from Kazimierz's brother John. Ania is played by Anna Dymna, who is one of the most recognizable Polish actresses from this era, especially in films like Znachor The Quack. The culture shock begins almost instantaneously for Kazimierz and Wadyslaw, first onboard the ship TSS Stefan Batory and then on the flight to Chicago. The contrast between Kazimierz and Wadyslaw's conservatism and Ania's openness provides much of the film's humor. The film plays in many clever ways with stereotypes of both Poles and Americans and has a lot of fun doing so.

Eventually, they discover that John died, leaving behind a fortune but also an illegitimate daughter who is half African-American. Needless to say, this creates a great deal of humor, as the two peasants must warm up to their new family members. Kochaj albo rzuc is a great piece of silly fun, and while it is not so polished, it represents a fun window into the Polish-American community in Chicago in the 1970s, as well as views of how Poland and the US were perceived at this time. Checinski was a gifted director who went on to direct Wielki szu



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