Malgoska used a mixture of trained actors and local non-actors to construct the naturalistic feel of the film, working with the amateurs in a documentary fashion to get them used to the camera and forget its presence, and to bring out their own personalities. The lead couple, however, are trained and well known Polish actors who Malgoska, with her writing partner (and cinematographer Michal Englert) had in mind to play the roles from the film’s inception.
The director chose to make a film that in her own words is about ‘this feeling of somehow being torn from the inside, a feeling of being unfulfilled in contacts with other people, this great longing for something strong and powerful’. She explains that the film is not essentially a “gay film” but a film that tackles wider issues in Polish society, exploring love in a setting of intolerance and repression, that hopefully all can relate to: ‘In Poland, we still have a problem with accepting differences and manifestations of being different’ she explains.
Of course, the rural setting is important in order to provide a background of small-minded social pressure, in which everybody is aware of each other’s business. It was important for Malgoska not to set the film in a city because it would be ‘saying less about Poland ’. She states that ‘Polish provinces make up 80% or more of [Polish] society’, and therefore she wanted to highlight a particular dangerous aspect of a country still heavily steeped in Catholicism.
When asked if she is afraid of controversy, in wake of the 120,000 ticket sell out in the first 10 days in Warsaw, Malgoska responds: ‘I’m curious…What I wouldn’t like, is a cheap sensation, bunch of shouters, that’s for sure. I’d prefer I serious discussion. In Poland, we still have a problem with accepting differences and manifestations of being different. The society still calls itself being 90% catholic, and unfortunately, very often it’s a synonym of being closed. I think, that this film may be an important voice in a discussion.’