by Adam Grossman Cohen (2011)

“Facts do not convey truth. That’s a mistake. Facts create norms, but truth creates illumination.” – Werner Herzog

“Truth is beauty, beauty truth and that is all you need to know.” – Keats

The film will be about our encounters with Ewa and Piotr Sosnowski, a brother and sister living together in Cracow since the death of their father. Their family was well off and educated, with a country home; then, many years after, they lost everything. Now Ewa and Piotr live in total poverty in a tiny two-room apartment; without heat, hot water or electricity. There are many things that led to this situation… a dysfunctional family, alcohol, abuse, the sad history of 20th Century Poland… but all this is presented obliquely; this is a film in search of revelation… not explanations. We don’t spell out the ‘facts’ because here they are constantly in flux. Alternately witty and nonsensical, rambling and to the point, tender and then cruel; without trying, in their everyday speech and actions, Ewa and Piotr obscure or mis-direct as much as they reveal. With piles of childhood photos [lovingly collected and reconstituted as family album by Lorenzo], shards of overlapping and sometimes contradictory remembrance, faint echoes of Roth’s “Radetsky March” and his vanished Austro-Hungarian Empire [this apartment in Krakow located in what was once after all the heart and center of that empire], sharp bits and pieces of their arguments, the smell of cheap Spiritus; all mixed sparking in the dusty light and smoke from Piotr’s endless cigarettes… then Lorenzo and I in the middle of it; trying to make a film. Each day we arrived with just one small digital video camera, no additional sound equipment and no added lighting [which sometimes required very slow shutter speeds as we shot literally by candlelight]… working as long as they would allow us; we fit our film into their life… not their life into our film.

The situation creates the method.

Together with Ewa and Piotr [because in this miniature world of theirs nothing happens without their co-operation/permission] we worked constructing a story without a story; a film made in the knowledge that one can never know the full truth of one’s own life; let alone another’s. Perhaps in the end this film will document, along with some facets of Ewa and Piotr’s existence, that very impossibility. And that impossibility is life. And life is indeed, as songwriter Mary Margret O’Hara sings; “beautiful beyond repair…” Here we present the second rough cut: it is the rough material we selected with the intention of giving the viewer the feeling of entering in their two rooms apartment and the chance to be with them as long as necessary. No color correction, no story, no subtitles, no smart editing. Just the feeling of being there.