Polish Cinema: Boy and Girl (Stanisław Loth, 1980, Poland)

Dziewczyna i Chlopak (Boy and Girl) is the 1980 film version of the 1978 Polish series directed for Polish television of the same name. The original series was based on Dziewczyna i chłopak, czyli heca na 14 fajerek, a 1961 children's novel by Hanna Ożogowska. Ożogowska was a prolific author of children's literature, starting from the 1930s and even into the 1980s. The film and series were directed by Stanisław Loth, a noted Polish cinematographer - the film was his lone directorial effort. The film stars real-life siblings Anna Sieniawska as Tosia and Wojciech Sieniawski as Tomek, though Anna's voice was dubbed over in the film.

The film is a simple story told with a great deal of humor. It takes place over a summer vacation. Warsaw siblings Tosia and Tomek are about to be sent away for their respective vacations. For various reasons, the siblings decide to switch roles. Tomek goes as Tosia to his aunt in the countryside, where he is warmly greeted by a large amount of young female cousins. Meanwhile, Tosia as Tomek goes to their uncle's lodge in the forest. Once you accept that nobody notices that the brother and sister have swapped roles, the movie is easier to accept.

Various funny scenarios play out due to the gender swap, and the film ultimately ends with heroic acts on the part of both Tosia and Tomek. There are some oddities with the editing as the film was distilled from six different episodes, and one can feel it. Apparently, for the film, an epilogue was tacked on, featuring the two young actors older and still in their old ways. Girl and Boy is a nostalgic family film that makes people think of simpler times. It is not great cinema but for a vision of Poland's past worth a watch.



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