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Sunday, 2 March 2008

Marek Skrobecki "DIM"



I had to watch Marek Skrobecki's 1992 movie, D.I.M., several times to decide on meaning but also because it is such a profoundly moving experience. Using life size puppets, Marek's ten minute film traces the relationship of a couple within the confines of their apartment. At first sight the two appear strained. The camera pans around the room and we are straightaway conscious of the dimness of the room although admittedly light does appear from the window which we pause at. The man rolls a glass ball from his almost translucent hand. It rolls across the table into the darkness of the room. The woman attends to her food preparation. Light periodically crosses their faces. In one magical scene he takes white pyramids from a box and arranges them, glistening and tinkling, on the table to catch the light from the window. His whole face and demeanour lightens here. The couple eat by the table in the light of the window though there is no communication or, seemingly, warmth. He opens a tin box and places crumbs slightly inside the window and the pair sit, hand in hand, on the bed looking towards the window and light for a small bird to appear. When it does the couple are transformed. What had appeared a strained affair is now enormously tender, their faces softening, her head falling to his shoulders, they hold each other. It is when the bird does not appear again, the light fades that they crumble. All the activities the pair are engaged in, be it sewing, cleaning what looks like surgical instruments, the heaps of books, periodicals and papers, all crammed into the flat to cover a void in their lives: all seems dim compared with the life force of the bird. Thus, for me, the story is explained as a couple's desperate need for a child to fill the tidy, crammed but ultimately empty space. In this respect the magnificent music of Michał Lorenc is crucial for it reveals the passion and the longing as well as the shades of light. Then there are the clues Marek draws into the film, notably the anatomical references, suggestive perhaps of infertility. The movie is imbued with a texture of feeling and significance that is exceptionally moving. At the close as the figures at the end sit in the gloom, heads bowed, I had echoes of Pompeii. Marek presently works for the Oscar winning studio Se-ma-for in Łódź. He graduated from the Fine Art Academy there and the Animation Department of the Polish National Film School in Łódź. He has also worked for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and Aardman Animation. I shall be writing again on Marek's work later in the week. For now enjoy what is indisputably a classic.

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