A delightful and meticulous farce with a touch of poetic realism (something along the lines of "La règle du jeu" by Jean Renoir updated and in a Polish context). Wedding reception, the puffed-up romantic climax of the "happiest day of your life", is turned into a satiric interpretation of the materialistic laws of the "money rules" society and the "keeping up with the appearance" attitude that comes with it. At times at an incredible pace, the montage shows guests playing vulgar games, while the bride's grand-father's corpse (and the old values with him) are already rotting in the toilet. And then there's vodka, the other ever-powerful social lubricator of all Slavic cultures (and some others as well; mind me saying, as Aki Kaurismäki depicts in his movies the same obsession found in Finland quite well, too).
By choosing to portray a "typical" wedding with all its weird and, at the same time, obligatory traditions, "Wesele" manages to smuggle the wider context of social change into the world of fiction. - How about that ostentatious wedding gift, a car stolen from Germany, following the often-told joke both by Germans and Polish: go to Poland - your car already is there! Not wanting to offend the Polish culture and its traditions here, on the contrary: "Wesele" is a poignant example of merciless but humouristic self-irony in the national context; still, it manages to find its reference also in the international field, as we all in the western culture are wrapped up in a consumer-crazed society and the style of living that comes with it. So, everything has a price and is up for a bribe.
The zenith comes when the bride's father - a central figure arranging everything with money, from the stolen wedding gift to driving under influence arrest - finds himself not only robbed of his money (he has it hidden in a greenhouse; as my Polish friends pointed out, the Polish do not trust banks... another subtle social commentary here),but abandoned by his wife, his daughter the bride, and even by his dog. The happy end? - Bride running away with her old boy-friend, the cameraman, finally united with her true love (maybe). At least it seems to underline the film's subversive stand, and the longing for values more profound than those found in cold cash.
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Wojnar is a wealthy man who is marrying off his beautiful daughter Kaska, in a small town in present-day Poland. He had to bribe the groom with a fancy car, since Kaska had been pregnant with another man. At the end of the ceremony, the car is delivered by a gangster, who immediately demands the promised sum of money and the deed to land from Kaska's grandfather. Unfortunately, the grandpa is unwilling to let go of the land. Meanwhile each of the wedding reception workers demands to be paid, so Wojnar, who is very reluctant to part with his money, tries to haggle and bribe his way out of all the situations.—Will Gilbert
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