Cleveland International Film Festival } April 7 – April 20, 2021

HAPPY MAN
(Szczesliwy Czlowiek)

 

Year: 2001
Country: Poland
Run Time: 84 minutes

The title belies the premise of HAPPY MAN, a somberly ironic drama of well-intended family secrets, lies and assumptions that quietly tumble out of control. Jacek Sonowska, unemployed would be poet, lives with his aging, careworn landlady mother in a squalid tenement that represents their worldly assets. After a visit to the hospital Mrs. Sonowska receives a dire verdict -terminal cancer. Don't tell my boy, she begs, he couldn't take it. Told independently about her diagnosis, Jacek begs the doctors not to inform his mother, as she's had enough heartache in her life. As the old woman stays at the clinic with greater frequency, Jacek sets out to develop more independence and autonomy, finding a love interest outside his flat with a factory worker named Marta, and sensing a possible escape from his dead-end existence via Rudy, an old school buddy now a noveau-capitalist entrepeneur with a tempting business offer. But the double-blind pledges made by mother and son lead this `happy man' to follow an unexpected and fateful route, in a striking and assured debut from 27-year-old filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska. (In Polish with English subtitles)

Screenplay
Malgorzata Szumowska

Director
Malgorzata Szumowska

Producer
Wojciech J. Has

Cinematography
Michal Englert, Marek Gajczak

Editing
Jacek Drosio

Principal Cast
Jadwiga Jandowska-Cieslak, Malgorzata Chajewska-Krzysztofik, Piotr Jankowski, Roman Gancarczyk, Mieczyslaw Grabka

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