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by Rose Finlay

Wojciech Smarzowski, Latvia│Poland 2021

Ryszard Wilk (Robert Wieckiewicz) is a shady businessman looking to sell some land to German investors. It also happens to be his daughter Kasia’s (Michalina Labacz) wedding day. She is very pregnant and hopes to leave Poland and move to Ireland with her husband and child. Meanwhile, two Israeli men show up andannouncethat Ryszard’s father Antoni Wilk (Ryszard Ronczewski) is to be awarded a Righteous Among the Nations medal for helping a Jewish woman during the war. This is a surprise to the whole family, particularly to Ryszard who is quite casually anti-Semitic. As the wedding celebration gets going, the past and the present begin to blend as the real history of Antoni’s wartime exploits are revealed.

THE WEDDING DAY is a subversive dark comedy that does not flinch at showing the dark underbelly of Polish society. Director and screenwriter Wojciech Smarzowski picks through the various hypocrisies of the Wilk family and friends, the casual racism and anti-Semitism of community, the groom’s nationalism, the corruption of the local clergy, sexism, ageism, and also the hidden secrets of those who lived through WWII. Smarzowski doesn’t pull any punches and the result is a devastating critique of modern Poland which feels quite daring considering recent legislation that makes such critical commentary potentially illegal. THE WEDDING DAY is the rare sort of film that manages to meld comedy, tragedy, and social critique seamlessly into an entertaining yet thought provoking feature. It is a film that sticks with you long after viewing and is certainly worth checking out.