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Night Conversations (2003) continued:

The young and carefree, the lonely and broken have more space for themselves in the city at night. These modern strangers drift though the artificially lit and dilapidated world of an economically depressed city. See these streets from the cabs of two single parents who make ends meet during a night shift in a working class city in Poland. They laugh, listen to problems, sympathize with the dispossessed, the prostitutes, or just tune out. They are taxi drivers. And they drive the night.

Director’s statement:

This film was an experiment in using a narrative cinematic style to tell a documentary story. If people are not told that this is a documentary, they may well think that I wrote all the dialogues, however, I think that life is the best screenplay. Although there is plenty of footage of passenger interactions, the subjects of the films are the two taxi-drivers and their struggle to survive. The passengers are simply part of their world. When the film was completed, Opus hosted a reception for the crew and the taxi drivers, Pavel and Monika. It was an interesting experience to watch them watch themselves. Afterwards, they said that although it was not filmed during one night, they felt that the film reflected what one of their nights is like very accurately. For me, that was a better review than getting the “Audience Choice” award, because it was their world that I wanted the viewer to experience.

The film has many personalities and faces that made up the landscape of Lodz, the city in which I spent 6 years of my life recently. The jazz musicians who played in a bar, the face of the old prostitute I would sometimes see along the way while hopping from club to club, the ordinary office girl taking a break from her troubles during an evening out. These are all faces that I know, some way or another, and which I miss very much. I knew that I would miss them when I was making the film – it was my farewell to my wonderful film student days in that surreal city of Lodz.
Some time ago, my film school contacted me and the studio for permission to use this film for a series of films about Lodz that was travelling around theaters in Poland. I was happy to learn that someone thought it was a film representative of Lodz. After the screenings took place, I was surprised to learn that it was the most optimistic and humor-filled film about Lodz! Apparently, all the other films were very depressing. Unfortunately, there is a lot to be depressed about in Lodz, a post-industrial city with high unemployment. And yet, somehow I feel that there is always some light, even if the overall mood and expectations are sombre. Even the poor old prostitute carries hope for herself and her children deep within her heart…

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