The Dress

Short films, no matter their scope or calibre, have a hard time. A hard time being seen. Having their stories heard. Even films like this one from Poland. The Dress, directed by Tadeusz Lysiak, is on the Oscar nomination shortlist in the Live Action Short Film category. Meaning it has been judged to be one of the ten best released this year. Impressive stuff. But I am sure if I were to take a survey of 1,000 people under ten would have seen the film. Which is too bad. Would be nice for film fans and the filmmakers themselves for the films to be shown in movie cinemas once again. Show people, outside of film festival goers, the kind of high quality films that are being made in short format.

Anyways, off my soapbox and onto the review. We are here to talk about Lysiak’s excellent film called The Dress. It is about Julie, who works as a maid in a fairly low end motel. She is a rather lonely young woman, spending most of her time alone smoking. She is a virgin and dreams of love/sex a lot. After a meeting with a truck driver in a dingy bar and the promise of a meet up, Julie’s dreams seem to be about to come true.

A warning of being careful what you dream of. That things don’t always turn out the way we think they are going to. In the almost 30 minutes of the film, we are introduced and submerged into the life of Julie. Director Lysiak aided by a stellar performance by her lead actress, Anna Dzieduszycka, really allows us in short order to understand what the young woman’s life has been like up until this point. Why she is rather negative about life overall and why she acts rather impulsively when a man shows some interest in her.

It is an oft used storyline about first sexual experiences told in a rather fresh way. Julie longs for intimacy or companionship though typically she is not seen that way. She is a person of short stature. While she is a virgin, Julie is older so she is not inexperienced in regard to life. Most of the time she is a rather tough or hard person. That is because of the way others have (mis)treated her. Underneath her stoic personality, she longs for someone, anyone, to see her as attractive. We see how lonely she is through the course of the film and Julie’s own eyes.

The climax (bad pun) of the film ends up being rather hard to watch. It hits you rather viscerally. Will leave many shook up as it is rather awful. Really shows us that evil can be lurking anywhere.

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