Here is a low-budget experiment in metafiction, or autofiction, with a shimmer of anxiety, shot mostly in black and white with periodic excursions into colour and animation – all about a young Polish woman living alone in a London flat, dealing with issues that are never clearly articulated. It often seems like nothing so much as a postmodern, 21st-century version of Polanski’s classic Repulsion.
The film itself appears to be a faux video diary by a (fictional) independent film-maker, recounting her experiences making a documentary about the life of a migrant worker in London. Emma Friedman-Cohen plays Katie, the director, and Aneta Piotrowska gives a bold and interesting performance as Alicja, the Polish woman and part-time actor Katie finds through an audition process. Alicja allows Katie into her life, at least partly through loneliness, and seems intensely sexual in a compulsive and troubled way. (An actor friend playfully addresses her as “Stella!” from A Streetcar Named Desire.) Katie comes to believe that Alicja might have been abused as a child; she is partly excited by the thought that her film might be on the verge of a revelation but also frightened by the intensity and responsibility that that would entail.
Friend - Girl - Fiction - Film - Truth
My Friend the Polish Girl is a fiction about an imagined factual film, and yet it is clearly so close to the truth, so apparently rooted in an exploratory improvisatory process, that it is almost a real-time documentary about actors immersing themselves in roles inspired by their own experiences. The result is not perfect, but by the end of the film you find yourself caring about Alicja, about...
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