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Fantastic Fest capsule review: Hardkor Disko

Joe Gross

In this striking, not-quite-as-smart-as-it-thinks, often-Kubrick-esque feature debut from Polish music video director Krzysztof Skonieczny, we see a somewhat expressionless young man wandering around an abandoned theme park, pulling the fallen, metal dinosaurs around the weeds. Guy dealing with parent issues ahead!

He is named Marcin (Marcin Kowalczyk, excellent) with a knife arrives in Warsaw, seemingly determined to knock on a particular door, only to be greeted by a young woman named Ola (Jasmina Polak) coming out of the apartment. Her parents are not home, he follows her to a disco, After clobbering a guy she was with, they party in that “young people who might hate themselves doing drugs at a flashy disco” kind of way. They go back to her parent’s impeccably tasteful, bourgeois apartment, have sex and in a scene reminiscent of “Trainspotting,” Marcin gets to meet her parents the next morning. Dad (Janusz Chabior) is an architect, Mom (Agnieszka Wosinska) doesn’t seem to do much of anything.

Both are perfectly nice— too nice for their own good, actually. Kowalczyk does a lot with virtually no dialogue. Even in the long scene with Ola’s parents, they do all of the talking as he sits, injecting only now and again to push or pull the conversation or lightly test their trust, which is remarkable considering they have no earthly idea who this fellow is (only that he just had a lot of sex with their daughter, which suggests parents trying way too hard to be liberal and with-it).

Marcin, who says very little the whole time, seems to have very specific plans for all three, but not, perhaps, what he first envisions.It’s a vague, open-ended film —we only get small hints of what fuels his vengeful urges.

Skonieczny knows from sumptuous images — Marcin’s dream of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a tank in one, a repeating clip of a small girl singing on an old home movie video tape, children’s drawings as title cards. He (and probably-soon-to-be-much-more-famous cinematographers, Kacper Fertacz) also has a flare for long takes that never feel overindulgent. There isn’t a whole lot of there, there. But there is plenty of space for the viewer to fill in the gaps.

“Hardkor Disko” plays again at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 22.