It often winds up that I get to review films that are about the making of films, which sometimes happens on purpose but mostly by accident. The accidents are happy, however, because the film-within-a-film is one of my favorite subgenres, which is where My Friend The Polish Girl resides. Like a lot of film-within-a-film films, Polish Girl has an experimental bent that made it all the more interesting to me, and ultimately anyone who enjoys a good art film.
Katie Broughton (Emma Friedman-Cohen) is a young American documentarian living in London. At the outset of My Friend The Polish Girl, she is interviewing a series of women to discover the subject of her documentary. After a series of interviews, she meets Alicja Dabrowska (Aneta Piotrowska). Alicja tells Kate that her partner has terminal cancer, and as far as Kate is concerned, she’s hit the documentary jackpot. The story of an immigrant in the post-Brexit vote UK, with an ailing lover, how perfect is that for pulling heartstrings?
“Katie tries to help Alicja, an unemployed actress, by hooking her up with a director named Alex…”
Once Kate starts filming the documentary, she discovers that Michael Plough (Daniel Barry), Alicja’s boyfriend, did have cancer, but it’s now in remission. So Katie is left with a woman who works at a movie theater and is in a healthy relationship with a regular guy. She tries to make the film more interesting by asking Alicja and Micheal provocative questions, which ultimately makes Michael so mad he breaks up with Alicja. This is where things start to get interesting.
Katie tries to help Alicja, an unemployed actress, by hooking her up with a director named Alex (Andy Abbott), who is directing a film (another film within a film) named Thunder and Angels. It is here that Katie starts to notice Alicja’s oversexualized persona as she sees Alicja put her hand on Alex’s thigh when they’re out to dinner at a private club. The layers of Alicja’s personality keep peeling off the longer that Katie films her, which, of course, also happens with the help of Katie’s manipulation.
"…really about the manipulative nature of documentary fillmmaking..."