Lidia Duda, PL, 2022, 83'
Wed. 10.8.2022, 11h00, La Sala
Thu. 11.8.2022, 9h00, Palacinema 1

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It is not easy to leave home, separate from your parents, and grow up. Especially if you are seven years old and blind or visually impaired. Yet that is what Zosia, Oskar, and Kinga have to achieve in order to attend a school for boys and girls in the same situation.

A documentary on this subject could have gone in rather predictable directions and tones, but ‘Pisklaki’ is something else entirely. Polish filmmaker Lidia Duda takes the audience to that tiny point on the map of emotions that is activated so infrequently because it requires a combination of rare elements united in a perfect balance. The gaze on these three children and their journey is placed with such honesty, respect, dignity, and even directness that their blindness comes across as almost incidental, instead bringing out the key elements of living and surviving: empathy, care, friendship, trust, compassion.

The camera placed so close to them is not intrusive, there is no voyeurism and the black and white does not add drama but highlights the ‘DNA’ of being human beings, individuals, who when faced with their first encounter with the outside world react with sensitivity but also strength, with character but also fear. The film shows childhood without reducing it to a chapter that opens and closes, as if being a child meant to be someone else: ‘Pisklaki’ reminds us that the person we are is already there, at the age of seven, in a world of obstacles where the key to finding a way is often to take care of each other.

Chiara Fanetti