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Time to Die (2007)

Pora umierac (original title)
When the witty old lady Aniela finally gets rid of her last lodger, she thinks it's finally time for her to feel at home in her beautiful old wooden house. But her greedy son and neighbours have other plans.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Danuta Szaflarska ... Aniela
Krzysztof Globisz ... Aniela's Son
Marta Waldera Marta Waldera ... Aniela's Daughter-in-Law
Patrycja Szewczyk Patrycja Szewczyk ... Aniela's Granddaughter
Agnieszka Podsiadlik ... Girl
Piotr Ziarkiewicz Piotr Ziarkiewicz ... Trebacz
Kamil Bitau Kamil Bitau ... Dostojewski
Kai Schoenhals Kai Schoenhals ... Aniela's Neighbour
Weronika Karwowska Weronika Karwowska ... Aniela's Neighbour
Malgorzata Rozniatowska ... Doctor
Wit Kaczanowski Jr. Wit Kaczanowski Jr. ... Young Aniela's Son
Joanna Szarkowska Joanna Szarkowska ... Young Aniela
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Tomaszewski Robert Tomaszewski
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Storyline

When the witty old lady Aniela finally gets rid of her last lodger, she thinks it's finally time for her to feel at home in her beautiful old wooden house. But her greedy son and neighbours have other plans.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Poland]

Country:

Poland

Language:

Polish

Release Date:

19 October 2007 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

Time to Die See more »

Filming Locations:

Otwock, Mazowieckie, Poland

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,322
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As explained at Cinequest Film Festival 2008, supposedly the dog was so popular to the first audiences that they demanded (and got) a special "Canine Award" at the 32nd Gdynia Polish Film Festival (where actress Danuta Szaflarska had also won Best Actress). See more »

Connections

Featured in Another World (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A triumph in ripe old age
1 May 2008 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

Aniela, played by remarkable Polish veteran stage and screen great Danuta Szaflarska, is as much a sprightly, unyielding relic of the past as the big dacha-style house surrounded by tall trees in which she lives alone with her impetuous dog, Philadelphia. Across the way, spied from a glassed-in porch through old opera glasses, she disapprovingly observes a boorish fat nouveau-riche man in a big new house, and over in a corner, a shabbier building occupied by a struggling music school, whose outdoor horn lessons she also deplores, talking to "Phila" in a running monologue.

The world is distorted, unfriendly, remote, but Aniela is lively, cheerful and defiant in the face of it all. Her first words on-screen (as rendered in the excellent subtitles), spoken to an impolite woman doctor she decides not to deal with, are "Kiss my ass."

'Time to Die' is an ironic title that suggests a dejection utterly foreign to this feisty and charming old lady. The film was largely conceived by Kedzierzawska as a perfect vehicle for her star Szaflarska, a tiny, indomitable woman who at 91 seems to skip up and down stairs and dance across rooms, her strong voice never faltering. (Seen at a festival screening at 93, she was equally sprightly.) But this is not just a vehicle for the star; the house, the dog, and the surrounding impingements are equally important--as is the camera, shooting in black and white; DP Artur Reinhart is another star whose work here dazzles and entrances. He makes much use of refracting lenses that convey at once a sense of the old windows of the house and of Aniela's own quirky vision, which can quickly shift to musings on the past. She not only sees her son (Krzysztof Globisz), now a big pasty-faced man with a peevish, fat little daughter (Patrycja Szewczyk), but a more idyllic image of that son as a handsome boy (Wit Kaczanowski Jr.) playing on the swing that still hangs from a big tree below.

'Time to Die' excels in many areas, not only in its extraordinary star, its gorgeous black and white images, and its rich sense of place, but in its ability to convey a sense of time savored minute by minute. Like many old people Aniela may not sleep much. Anyway she seems never to lose consciousness or even to stop talking to "Phila" or on the phone or to her son or to people outside. There's even a naughty urchin they call Dostoevsky (Kamil Bitau) because his first name's Fyodor, who's going to be studying drums at the music school but meanwhile climbs up to the second storey thinking to steal something. She's friendlier to him than to the rich boor from next door, who she sends packing, with Philadelphia snarling obediently after him. There are also nosy Kafkaesque city bureaucrats, and everybody wants Aniela's house or her land.

In time she finds out her own son's intentions are hardly as honorable as she'd assumed and she has to decide on some course of action. Is it "Time to Die"? No, not yet. But of course this is a kind of Endgame, and Aniela, cheerful and mobile though she is, still remains an Old Stancher in the Samuel Beckett sense, alone with her beautiful memories, out of touch and out of sorts with a new world of which she rarely approves and which is not very kindly toward her.

Though slight in content by some mainstream movie standards, 'Time to Die' is a rich and beautiful experience. It was interesting to see it at the San Francisco film festival right after the equally striking black and white film 'Frozen' (Shivajee Chandrabhushan). Kedzierzawska is working with material and with an actress she knows and the difference in emotional content was enormous. The cinematography also seemed to have more of a point to it since it so evocatively suggested a vision grounded firmly in the past but still alive in the present. Alive is the word, because the camera seems to breathe in this one. A long crane shot moving up and out of the roof at the end is a wise move to give a sense of ascent and also perspective. The extraordinary Danuta Szaflarska agreed with the director at an after-screening discussion that this film was one of the best opportunities she's ever had in her long and successful career. Not having seen other work by Kedzierawska one can't comment but surely this must be one of her greatest successes. Incidentally, this is one of the best performances by a dog you're likely to see.


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