Magdalena Szymków: My House Without Me

Sometimes, and maybe it happens more often with Polish short documentaries than with films from other countries, you sit after a fine film experience and say to yourself, ahhh it could have been longer, which is maybe the best compliment you can give a film, as the common sentence after a film is the opposite: too long, I was bored!

With Magdalena Szymków’s story – taken from the precise description on the site of the English producer – about two women, one house, an intimate story about a Pole and a German placed by war on enemy sides and their parallel lives accidentally brought together – I would have loved to have more, maybe a bigger film could be developed from this extraordinarily important theme of post-war Europe. We knew about the move of the border of Poland due to cynical big power´s politics, but it is the first time I have seen such an intelligent treatment of the subject as this one seen through the eyes of old women, whose memories are both informative and emotional.

Back to Polish short documentaries – and many of them come from the Wajda School – that often have this wonderful precise language with few words and a great impact on the visual interpretation. It’s all there in this film that also plays with double exposure of archive material to give support to the film’s memory flow.

For subscribers of the DOX Magazine – the film came with Number 96 on a dvd that also included Marcel Lozinski’s “Tonia and Her Children”.

Poland, 2012, 28mins., Wajda School

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3870