In response to a previous reviewer's guess that certain characters like the porn director are caricatures: Those who have seen "Body Without Soul" (a powerful documentary by the same director which was clearly the basis for Mandragora's script and the blueprint for its characters) no doubt recognized many lines and scenes. The same can be said about a few characters, the director being one. (David being another - there's even physical resemblance between the actor and the real David.) They both exist in real life, the actor playing the porn director also looks like the original and most of his lines have been taken (word for word) from the documentary where the prototype is being interviewed in GREAT (often sickening) depth plus filmed in action, as he's interviewing a few newboys and prepping them for the next shoot. I'm afraid that unlike everything else he does and says in Mandraghora, the scene of his arrest is fiction, something Grodecki desperately wants to happen. The rest, however, is real.
Mandragora itself, although erratic until a certain point (there are also a few lines that sound forced, it's as though the writer was trying too hard to condense "the point" and jam it down our throats), eventually becomes coldly honest in the realistic depiction of its characters' degradation and despair. It's also unique in that it doesn't try to explain anything. We never understand the father's insensitive behavior to Marek; we don't get a "valid" reason why the boy runs away from home. Nothing is rationalized like it no doubt would have been if this were mainstream cinema (for example: "The father is a drunk and Marek left home because he was being beaten or sexually molested").
The point to this approach is quite clear - that in real life, most things can't be explained and others just happen. That there doesn't necessarily need to be a specific, profound reason for a child to run, get lost and spiral down into Hell. Mandragora doesn't look for such excuses because they're not relevant. What is is that most of the time kids run away for no good reason which doesn't make the consequences any different. For life to slip through a child's fingers really could be this accidental and this easy which is exactly where the tragedy is.
Despite its flaws, I highly recommend this movie. However, you'll get the most accurate idea of the subject matter and Grodecki's perspective if you watch it along with the much better "Body Without Soul".
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